LED Floaties

The latest in the LED’s bid for world domination, they’ve now taken to the skies in 99 luftballons.

LED Floaties – Link


  • LED Throwies, etc. on Make: Blog – Link

46 thoughts on “LED Floaties

  1. Tim says:

    That’s just awesome! Great idea!

  2. tommy.genes says:

    So now all those LEDs and batteries (not to mention the balloons) are free to litter and pollute the environment…

  3. The Duke says:

    Here we go eco-freaks start your complaining! Listen, a few things from some random art project is not ever 0.0000000000000001% of the crap cars and corporations pump out per hour.

  4. ZeRo1eleven says:

    Actually the balloons were made of biodegradable latex (or at least thats what says on the youtube description) so the latex wont contaminate that much. Also, that is one interesting art project, I would like to replicate it someday.

  5. Ken says:

    I wonder if this is what everyone saw in Stephenville, TX…


  6. Leslie J. Hartley says:

    I did this Halloween 2007, and had little cards people could write a message or wish on. Hopefully a little light floated down to a few people and gave them something wonderful to read.

  7. featheredfrog says:

    yeah, and what a wonderful contribution to the worldwide shortage of helium. only ten years or so left, unless some massive new source is found.

  8. doctorbigdaddy says:

    Does everything have to be filtered by our bias?
    It was beautiful and probably made someone besides me feel good.I am 62 and Ive learned two things:
    Dont sweat the small stuff.
    oh,and its all small stuff.

  9. doctorbigdaddy says:

    LIGHTEN UP!The LED balloons were beautiful and probably made someone beside me feel good!
    I am 62 and I have learned to take things that I cant do much about in stride.I am all for the environment and I think we all should be respectors of mother earth.However a few floating LEDs wont make enough difference to make such comments. Does everything have to be filtered through our bias?Enjoy the moment and dont miss the other delightful floaties that happen so rarely these days.

  10. cibomahto says:

    That’s really pretty! Now I know what has to happen to all of these extra batteries I have…

  11. Endif says:

    Been doing this since July ’07 at Endif gigs, starting with the Reverence festival in Madison, WI.

    Battery. Tape. LED. Stuffed into a balloon, filled with helium, tied off. Fill a couple of plastic garbage bags with them, release at the start of the set.

    The way I make the throwies, with packing tape and quickly, the connection is sometimes unreliable, so they flicker when they get near the speakers.

    Kids like to bust em open and take the throwies once the helium stops working..

    Cool to see so many at once, and free to fly as they will though.

  12. evenbiggerdoctordaddy says:

    If art is justifies littering then why wouldn’t war, economy and plain old need for convenience justify it too? After all, they all make us feel good.

    @doctorbigdaddy: You are not “all for the environment” if if you tolerate this kind of littering. You are only “partly for the environment.”

  13. flobster says:

    Just a quick question, does helium balloons burst when they get high enough up in the air?

  14. fcrab says:

    Flobster: yes.

  15. tommy.genes says:

    Art is, by nature, a crucial but also highly discretionary activity, so the “at least I’m not polluting as much as The Man” argument is a cop out. It will only take one of those LEDs or batteries to kill a bird or small animal. A little bit of forethought could have avoided that without compromising “artistic integrity,” but was neglected, I suspect, because LED throwies are trendy right now. A trend promulgated, at least in part, by such postings on the Make: blog.

  16. Dax says:

    If you guys are that concerned about the environment maybe you should turn your computer off and save energy instead of taking the time to come here and bitch about everything.

    Oh and guess what, painting a picture also wastes resources, yet I don’t see anyone complaining about that. Heaven forbid someone fill a balloon with helium…

  17. maloeh says:

    Geez, and we thought the Teen Hunger Squad led signs caused panic…people are going to think bombs are floating through the air. Quick someone call Homeland Security!!!

  18. maloeh says:

    Geez, and we thought the Teen Hunger Squad led signs caused panic…people are going to think bombs are floating through the air. Quick someone call Homeland Security!!!

  19. toyotaboy says:

    Genius! Taking an existing project (throwies) and making them into floaties. I can just see an increase in UFO reports now “These 6 multi-colored lights just hovered there in the sky, moving real slow”

  20. Mitch P. says:

    Biodegradable is a funny word. There are plenty of things which are, strictly speaking, biodegradable, but won’t degrade for hundreds of years. While the balloons will probablly only last 2-3 years, but once they pop. they are likely to be eaten by animals who mistake them for food, and might cause intestinal blockages.

    But even the balloons aren’t the real problem. I’m assuming that the LEDs are powered by button batteries. Thousands of button batteries, which will be drained in a matter of a few hours, or on the outside days.. at which point they will start to corrode, and release heavy metals (Mostly mercury and lead, but small quantities of cadmium and other trace minerals as well.) (possibly into the digestive tracts of whichever animal has ingested the balloon, possibly into the soil.

    I think the project is beautiful, but it’s also littering on a grand scale.

  21. *cough* says:

    Yes, and my smoking of cigarettes is an art, and disposing the butts onto the ground is just my form of artistic expression. Surely, I’m not polluting as much as The MAN! And since it’s artistic, it’s justifiable. In fact, I recommended this type of art project to all of my fellow smo…. er, um “artists”… Just look at your nearest local parking lot, isn’t our artwork beautiful!

    /sarcasm off

  22. Menthol says:

    Actually those are most likely lithium button batteries, which are classified as non-hazardous waste and don’t contain anything too terrible. If a large number of them were concentrated and dumped in, say, a stream, yes, that could cause problems. However, scattering them litterally to the wind… the environmental impact of one or two people releasing (relatively) so few isn’t even worth considering.

    However, I’d avoid doing this near marine life, as a popped balloon floating on water does actually resemble jellyfish and similar food types that can be gobbled up. Land critters are generally able to recognize they aren’t food, though, so if you’re inland it shouldn’t be a real problem.

  23. VC says:

    This is awesome! I could give a piss about the tools complaining about the environment. The same people complaining buy a new iPhone and MacBook every other year and send their old one to a toxic recycler landfill in China and support littering millions of 5.56 rounds and bodies in the middle east to fuel and build their Prius.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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