A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
Digital Sparkle - The Bling-Bling You Can Program
Are you fascinated by the geometric elegance and sparkle of crystals? Imagine the dazzling beauty of crystals that change colors in real time. Introducing Digital Sparkle, the world first SMD (surface mount device) crystal LED, created by Effulgent. DIY eletronics learner, STEM learner or educator, girls in tech, women who code, smart jewelry designer, fashion tech designer, wearable or consumer electronic product designer: it's time to experience the second life of your lovely crystals.
Let's Control The Bling-Bling
With Digital Sparkle, you can create twinkling wearables that react to your commands or the environment. Combine Digital Sparkle LEDs with your own controller and sensors for a uniquely beautiful wearable device. Imagine a sparkling bracelet that gives phone notifications, a bright musical headband, responsive crystal LED shoes/heels, smart LED handbag, light-up geo-location wearables, heart beat responsive clothing, etc... The possibilities are unlimited.
Digital Sparkle integrates genuine Swarovski crystals with individually addressable LED. You can create wearables without the look of cheap plastic, exposed LED's dies and exposed LED's yellow phosphor. With Digital sparkle LEDs, you can display any 16M (16,000,000) custom colors that look as beautiful up close as they do from far away, and you can order our crystal LEDs in large quantities for your market-ready product.
More Bling-Bling! Bling Even In Total Darkness! Combining Both Natural and Digital Sparkle
You are not losing the inherent real natural sparkle that comes with the crystal. You still get the crystal that reflects and refracts the light. On top of that, you can control the elusive LED embedded inside and also make it sparkle in total darkness, a feat which is impossible for any normal crystal.
Make Cool Smart Bling-Bling Wearables
Now, you can make cool smart bling bling things. The ideas are limitless.
Dancer crystal belt with sparkles gyrating to music and motions
Cyclist backpack with safety and signaling light
Smart sparkling headphone
Dancer costume with light painting capability
Get Ready To Program The Digital Sparkle
You don't have to spend countless hours writing new code for the LEDs. Backed by open source software and based upon the core design of popular WS2812B / SK6812 LEDs , you can have fun programming with example codes using Arduino IDE. There are already many tutorials on these LEDs. Be sure it is easy to learn!
You can easily select these libraries in the Arduino library manager.
You've got a huge selection of micro-controllers (MCU), Bluetooth and WIFI controllers that have supported these LEDs. We give you a brief list below but there are more ... really more!
Offering More Elegant Crystal LED Design
If LED industry has missed the focus of great luxe look wearable crystal LED, we are here striving to fulfill your dream. Our unique design makes it more elegant than other LED crystals:
1. No light hole
Don't worry about dark LED hole. Other crystals create holes in the reflective crystal foil, which is slow, costly, and impairs the aesthetics. You get better looking crystal.
2. No light pipe or bead hole required
We don't use crystal bead. Some design uses beaded crystals to transmit light along a center hole which may contain clear filler. This additional process adds to the cost and focuses the light along a single line, ruining the natural crystal symmetry.
3. No translucent / frosted glass look
You get crystal that is highly reflective than translucent gemstone. In gemology, a translucent gemstone transmit enough wavelength of light that we can see light through it, but due to the gem's refractive index and other properties, the light escape the gem is highly scattered, such that we cannot see images beyond it. A frosted glass is considered translucent. Many smart jewelries are using translucent gemstone. The light is diffused softly and looks pleasant. While translucent gemstone is a very good option in diffusing light, this translucent look may not look sparkly enough for crystals.
4. No exposed yellow phosphor
You won't find fluorescent yellow phosphor that looks too striking to your eyes. A typical white LED has yellow phosphor to make the blue LED looks white. Viewing through clear crystals, the light off mode exposes the yellow phosphor of the LEDs. Wearable LED that is usually worn in very close proximity to human eyes may find the yellow phosphor to be taking over the color of crystal and impairing the aesthetic look.
Overcoming Light Wash Out in Textiles LED
Textiles covered LED has been a very popular trend in wearable LED. It's simple and easy to make one. Let's make it clear that textile light diffusion is truly soft and beautiful. Lamp with textile shade has been around for a long time.
The textile covering may not be tightly attached onto LED. When the textile wrinkles, the light tends to wash out and bleeds over other pixel LEDs. If the usage is meant to have a clearer image or video display for a performance, the wash out effect will distort the images. Many display panel technologies e.g. TV, digital signage etc. have specifically engineered toward solving their own light bleeding issues.
A more elegant way is designing an opaque mask over the textile e.g. a perforated leather to hide the light bleed. If the mask layer is textile, designer would still need to find the right fabric that doesn't diffuse light for mask.
Our Digital Sparkle is intended to simulate scintillation rather than soft diffused light. Hence, textile is not used as diffusion layer here. The crystals are discretely separated and do not bleed over like textiles do. Designer of textile LED can sometime spend many hours of rigorous fabric testing to find the right LED diffusion to get decent viewing pixels. We hope with Digital Sparkle it will be much easier without such painful process.
Our Crystal LED
In our design, crystals are customized to be transflective: transmissible to LED light and reflective to ambient light to retain the sparkling effect while able to conceal the LED dies, wire bonding and yellow phosphor encapsulant.
We spent time and effort working with Swarovski to define the right crystal design for these LEDs and run tests on them from visual, lighting, manufacturing and quality perspectives.
We use the authentic crystals from Swarovski. Swarovski's crystals have shown to be consistent in quality for our production. Swarovski's crystals are also lead free.
Why Individual Addressable LED?
Each crystal deserves to have individual sparkle that is controllable.
Size: 5mm x 5mm (5050) LED
LED Color Options:
RGB: Red, Green, Blue
RGBW: Red, Green, Blue, White
WWA: White, Warm White, Amber
Effulgent has selected the low power version of individual addressable LED. It is 5mA per LED and a total of 15mA per RGB LED. Of course, the brightness will be lower than SK6812 / WS2812B. This is intentionally designed for wearable to conserve battery energy to enable lighter battery design. Normally, user may use software brightness control to reduce the power of WS2812B / SK6812. This will come at the cost of 24 bit color resolution.
Maximum Current Per Strip:
30 LEDs = 450 mA
72 LEDs = 1.08 A
The supported voltage is typically 5V. But, it is also confirmed through LED manufacturer that it can support 3.3V. This opens up to many 3.3V only microcontroller (MCU). Bear in mind, this design work for < 0.5m LED strip. Any attempt to extend the LED strip length while using 3.3V is not guaranteed because there is always the IR drop.
Please use well design voltage regulator that can deliver the power. Please ensure your MCU voltage and LED voltage are the same; otherwise, you may need voltage translator. Other design that uses 3.3V to power MCU and 3.6V-4.1V Li-Ion battery to power the LEDs are still workable.
SMT Manufacturing Ready
If a crystal is geometrical challenging, it may need manual labor or expensive custom made machine for volume production. Effulgent's crystal LED is designed to be structurally similar to SMD Lens LED. Today, SMD Lens LED are very commonly available for SMT (Surface Mount Technology) printed circuit board or flexible printed circuit assembly production. Likewise, our SMD crystal LEDs have been tested and are ready for SMT production.
Digital Sparkle crystal LED is strong enough to withstand your finger force from falling off. This is well tested with shear stress machine. The crystal is as good as typical Swarovski crystals. However, Swarovski crystal glass by nature is brittle and will crack like any usual Swarovski crystals under extreme force.
Effulgent's goal is to kick start a crystal LED production line to customize crystal LED for wearable LED market. This market covers smart apparels, leather ware, consumer electronics and etc. We have a product roadmap for many sizes, colors and shapes of crystals LED.
Effulgent will offer and deliver add-on options for RGBW and WWA LED colors if the stretch goal in volume is reached. The option will be provided in a survey to solicit backers' demand. Our manufacturer requires significant volume to build for additional SKUs.
What Other People Are Saying?
"No more bare LEDs for your wearable projects. these little crystals are a new approach to making your LED accents a bit more visually appealing."
"It’s a product that should add a little bit of designer flair to your projects... The crystal hides the ugly LED underneath, helps diffuse the light, and creates a nifty sparkling effect through its facets. Basically, they’re decorative LEDs that are particularly suited to wearables."
"@EffulgentLED crystals are super sparkly in the sun, and they diffuse the colors beautifully.... I'm loving the sparkle!... They're so luxe! My next project will be SERIOUSLY blingy. "
- @GeekMomProjects "Geekmom" Debra Ansell, featured in Aug/Sept 2018 MAKE magazine.
Projects made with Digital Sparkle by Geekmom :
"These look awesomely blingy! "
- @SophyWong Maker Guru and Writer for HackSpace Magazine.
LED Color Option:
RGB: Red, Green, Blue (Basic)
RGBW: Red, Green, Blue, White (Add On)
WWA: White, Warm White, Amber (Add On)
Add-On LED Color options are extra pledges for additional Digital Sparkle crystal LED strip built using different LED chips of said color. This is a stretch goal pledge on condition that sufficient volume demand collected via backer survey at the end of this campaign. When the demand meets our manufacturer SKU volume, Effulgent will collect this extra pledge and deliver to the requested backers.
Add-On Pledge for a mixture of configuration e.g. both 30p and 72p is allowed via survey.
We will endeavor to ship around the whole world. Please note that all reward pledges do not include shipping cost.
Hardware Resources - 3rd Party MCUs
Digital Sparkle crystal LED is supported by many Arduino microcontrollers (MCU). You must purchase them separately via other sites. These are just a few MCU examples that :
Effulgent has patent pending for many interesting crystal LED designs for current Digital Sparkle and also future generations.
Effulgent Inc. is partnering with world class LED package manufacturer to produce such crystal LED strips.
Who is Effulgent?
Effulgent is founded by a hardware engineer, Daniel Lee, who have been designing motherboard for computing industry. His wife passion in crystals or jewelries and his passion for tech are quite different. He wonders if he could infuse the crystal with tech and making the sparkle smarter by the miniaturizing of electronics. He believes the design must be "crystal first LED second" in order to attract the attention of his wife. He envisions this design to be scalable building block for wearable market.
Why we need your support?
Over the past 2 years, we have personally funded the designing, prototyping and manufacturing process testing of this Digital Sparkle SMD LED to where it is today. Endless hours have poured into this project to ensure the design can meet manufacturing requirements, to refine mature manufacturing technique and to identify right resources to mass produce this product.
This Digital Sparkle Kickstarter project allows you the chance to pre-order the Digital Sparkle Crystal LED Strips at discounted price. The funds you pledged will be used to fund the completion of this project by purchasing materials and equipment for this production. Meeting Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) for our manufacturer is very critical to the success of this project.
We look forward to your support to bring on more wearable Digital Sparkle for your projects and wearable product development. Thank you for your trust and support.
Risks and challenges
No one wants to be disappointed in seeing this beautiful product coming to life. Many people are anticipating for consumer wearable products incorporating these crystal LEDs coming to the market. This is just the beginning.
Optical lens LED is a mature manufacturing process. It is highly sought after to disperse the light. In our design, the lens is a crystal instead. The process of making this crystal LED has been validated via prototype build. Nevertheless, there are always significant challenges in manufacturing and delivery products at scale. Fortunately, Effulgent has established relationship with world class LED manufacturer, who is experienced in producing lens LED to delivery this and endeavor to make it successful.
There are still risks associated with component lead time and availability based on how well received is this crowdfunding orders. Effulgent will work hard to mitigate this risk and will be transparent throughout this delivery process .
Other risk may involves physical delivery during shipping which may due to some unforeseen circumstances. Effulgent will work with proven reliable companies to ensure the product arrives at perfect condition at destinations.
Please note that the final look of the color of LED package/ flexible printed circuit may subject to change based on materials availability.
You share our vision and want to build a project of your own. You will get 10 strips of 0.5 meter 30 pixels Digital Sparkle at 30% off expected retail price of $200. You will have fun learning to build the circuit and program it.
You share our vision and want to build a project of your own. You will get 10 strips of 0.5 meter 30 pixels Digital Sparkle at 20% off expected retail price of $200. You will have fun learning to build the circuit and program it.
You share our vision and want to educate people in STEM. You will get 100 strips of 0.5 meter 30 pixels Digital Sparkle at 30% off expected retail price of $2000. You will have fun learning to build the circuit and program it.
You share our vision and want to educate people in STEM. You will get 100 strips of 0.5 meter 30 pixels Digital Sparkle at 20% off expected retail price of $2000. You will have fun learning to build the circuit and program it.
You are creative and want to design new product based on Digital Sparkle. You will get 5000 pixels Digital Sparkle in tape and reel at 30% off expected retail price of $4000. You will have fun building new FPC/PCB with Digital Sparkle.
You are creative and want to design new product based on Digital Sparkle. You will get 5000 pixels Digital Sparkle in tape and reel at 20% off expected retail price of $4000. You will have fun building new FPC/PCB with Digital Sparkle.
You share our vision and want to educate people in STEM. You will get 100 strips of 0.5 meter 72 pixels Digital Sparkle at 30% off expected retail price of $5000. You will have fun learning to build the circuit and program it.
You share our vision and want to educate people in STEM. You will get 100 strips of 0.5 meter 72 pixels Digital Sparkle at 20% off expected retail price of $5000. You will have fun learning to build the circuit and program it.