Here is where we describe other forms of lighting that do not fit as neatly into the other categories.
Fiber optics are a form of light guide, and require a separate light source - typically an LED for clothing applications. The light from the LED is transmitted through a fiber bundle, and emitted at the opposite ends of the fibers (end glow), or along the length of the fiber (side glow). In some projects, we will use fiber optics as a means of shaping the light when a very subtle diffused effect is desired. However, we do not recommend this approach for applications where a high degree is visibility is needed, such as stage clothing.
We've also created clothing that is illuminated by lasers, such as the gloves shown below.
Due to the likelihood that lasers on gloves will be pointed into your face (or the faces of people around you), we will only work with lasers that are safe for wearable applications. We prefer to work with green lasers that are customized with special optics that split the main beam into many smaller beams, as supplied exclusively by our collaborators at BlissLights.
If you are looking for the cheapest possible option, then a glow-in-the-dark material might be a good solution. This approach is recommended if you require something for a single use, if you do not need to be able to turn the illumination on and off, or if you would like to eliminate the batteries.
When charged by an external UV light source, a glow-in-the-dark vinyl (or similar material) can be difficult to distinguish from an electrically active material. For some types of designs, glowsticks can serve as an inexpensive alternative to EL wire.
Glow-in-the-dark and UV-reactive materials can be used to further enhance an electrically active design, especially in cases where a UV LED is used to activate the surrounding fabrics in a garment.
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