Finger Lights for Night Time Communication for the Deaf.




About: father, son, brother

A favorite memory of mine is from childhood. During bedtime my brothers and I would lie in the dark until sleep came; talking about all the things we'd do once we were older, or about which xmas gifts we wanted or even about girls.

Finger Lights are red LEDs fashioned to the end of soft quilting thimbles that go over the end of each finger. The hopes is that the LED will provide enought light to allow each finger to be seen in the dark so as to allow the user the ability to communicate with someone else while sitting/lieing in the dark. Initially, my idea was to make them recharable utilizing a pull type charging system (similiar to the OLPC pull charger) that gets fashioned into some cool looking wristband. With this current design, I think it is too bulky. Ultimately I would like to use smd LEDs and something less clumsy than the soft qulting thimbles.

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Step 1: Prepare the Soft Thimbles

cut holes in the tops of the soft thimbles. Make the holes large enough for the led to poke through, but no too big.

Step 2: Position the LEDs

place the LEDs into position. With the textured side of the thimble facing you, the + lead of the LED should be on the right.
Position all the LEDs this way.

Step 3: Attach Lead Wires

Once all the LEDs have been positioned, it is time to attach the (20) wire leads. I found some white lead wire that I wanted to recycle. So, I placed a piece of black electrical tape on 10 of the wires so as to denote the - side.

Step 4: Connecting

Once everything has been wired up properly, connect all the + positive wires and then do the same to the - negaitive side.

Step 5: Connecting Negative Side

connect the negative side of the LEDs/wire configuration to the 330 ohm resistor the connect the other end of the resistor to the black wire of the 9v batter connector

Step 6: Connecting the Pushbutton

the pushbutton that I have has two wire leads coming from it, connect one side to the red/positive side of the 9v battery connector and the other pushbutton lead to the + positive side of the LED/wire configuration. That's it. Place the thimbles on the ends of each finger and push the button. If everything is wired properly your finger tips should be glowing red.

Step 7: Materials:

- soft sewing thimbles

- 330 ohm resistor

- 10 red led

- leader wire

- 9v battery connector

- 9v battery

- pushbutton

- glue gun

- black electrical tape

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    22 Discussions


    3 years ago

    great idea! but can it be used on stage for horror effect or something like that


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    What is the RIT community? What sort of marketing do you have in mind? Maybe we can work something out.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    great idea, but the name seems a bit strange, I guess you mean: 'Finger Lights for night time communication for death.' or: 'Finger Lights for night time communication for the dead.' it's just some advice, the rest is great.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    thank you for you input. it is intended to assist those who are deaf or those who communicate using sign language, not death or dead. Although, if it were able to help those who are dead communicate, I think I'd be a rich man. Or at least the host of my own television show.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Good Instructable and very interesting application idea. I have a few coments below. 1) Two minor improvements to the I'ble's structure: Do include either a schematic or at least a clearly drawn wiring diagram (humans are visual animals). Move the materials list to the beginning (Step 1) rather than at the end -- that way the reader knows what is going to be used in the process, rather than figuring out as they go along and then being told :-) 2) Do you know any members of the Deaf Community? ASL involves not just finger position and movement, but handshape, hand orientation, and position relative to the speakers head and body. It would be _very_ interesting to know whether signing in the dark with just fingertip indicators was intelligble. 3) As a followup to (2), an obvious extension of this model for full ASL capability would be LED gloves, with indicators on both fingertips and knuckles, and a few (maybe a circlet) on the palm. You could use smaller lensless rectangular LEDs to avoid the bumpiness. 4) I recently created a Group (unmoderated) for Assistive Technology. I've added this I'ble to it; let me know if you'd prefer not.

    1 reply

    Now not knowing how to sign my self this is completely base less, but it seems to me that this may not have the definition to clearly define all the hand positions required. EL wire sew to the top of a thin glove could illuminate the full length of each finger, possibly in different colors to help distinguish fingers.

    2 replies
    rockytcokebottle tuque

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I have a version made from El wire. once you cut the el wire down to about finger size, it becomes less flexible. They look cool though.

    cokebottle tuquerockyt

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    What size did you use? The smallest I have been able to find is 1.2mm some sellers refer to it as angel hair, its fairly flexible. Just as a side note on el wire the stuff is fairly indestructible, I made a set of bofer light sabers, I wanted to test the durability I ended up hammering on a piece of wire on a steel block, damage after about 50 hits to the same spot was about the same size as a dead pixel.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    What a great idea. Our small community puts on a small fireworks display, what fun to have pre-show dancers wear these. How far away can they be seen, and where can you buy them. Or how to make them. Thanks Great idea.

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. They are fairly visible from quite a distance. As for buying them, I would gladly sell you a pair, or you can make your own. The soft quilting thimbles can be picked from your local sewing/craft store.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry new to this site and didn't notice the how to make section before posting the comment.