Glowffiti – Invisible UV Glowing Graffiti Spray Paint

Invisible Glowing Graffiti
Invisible Glowing Graffiti with two colors: Red and Green

This is some invisible UV glowing paint I made recently. It’s a clear paint that glows brightly under UV lights. There are many reasons I can think of to  can be used to add invisible messages without obscuring preexisting signs or creating visual clutter. Also some fun uses could be to create city wide treasure hunts or secrete messages. The ink comes in two versions a plastic based version that you can screen print and a polyurethane version that you can spray. Here’s what the wall looks like during the day:

Invisible Glowing Wall During The Day
Wall with two skull tags imitating wall without tags

At night here’s a picture of it glowing with a UV LED flashlight:

Glowing at night with LED flashlight
You can see it using UV LED's as well!

The applications are endless, what would you do with this type of ink?

Laser Cutter and Plotter Program

So while developing my $50 laser cutter I needed a program that would help me turn vector designs into a series of steps that could run the motors. These steps are human readable, here’s an example text file: Flutter File. If you were to take 0 as north, and 1 as north east, 2 as east and so on and walked this document out you would have drawn this charming man:

Pope John Paul II.

The program can be found here and is pretty neat, just upload a EPS file and it will turn it into a text file of steps to take like this:3result

The C program I wrote to run a set of stepper motors using this type of text file can be found here.

For a full description on how I made a laser cutter and how to make one for yourself can be found at my instructable.

There have been a few people who have made the laser cutter, but none as beautifully as Samuel Ward’s:



Actively Articulating Awesome in Ann Arbor

My Biometric Data
My Biometric Data

There is a lot going on. Let me show you it. These are a few of the projects I’m working on RIGHT NOW!

WreckLab / MakeLab is a class I’m proposing around town in which people take apart the things that mystify them, learn how the component parts work, then put them back together in novel ways. The idea is to empower people with the knowledge of everyday objects they mistake for magic. Cell phone: magic. Refrigerators… majick. Printers: sorcery!! Having the knowledge of the inner workings of their thingsgives people more ownership over the stuff they buy. If your watch breaks, you’re not out all the parts, you can use that stuff! Also there’s the potential for fixing it yourself.

There is the hope that more happens, that through this destructive and constructive play people find themselves inspired to experiment, to realize that science is done by people solving their own problems. That a playful experimenting mind is a fun thing to cultivate, and who knows what fun hacks we’ll develop along the way!

Radioactive Boardgame Free will and chance, these are things I’ve been thinking about ever since I was introduced to the concept of reductionism. I’d really like to see more large scale things controlled by quantum and subatomic weirdness. It is disappointing to know that something mysterious exists that has the potential to give life true randomness and in my opinion adds a fair serving of intrigue then realize that as it aggregates all the fun random effects blend out to your last choice at Wendy’s (you got something from the dollar menu). So I’ve built a scintillator using Zinc Sulfide and Americium and in absolute darkness I can see subatomic particles exploding off and shooting out individual photons. It looks like static (coooooool). What I would like to do with this is develop a way to amplify it singularly to make decisions for a board game. No idea what the game will be, maybe I’ll make it a SMS based application where you ask it a question and it replies with an answer selected by ATOMS.

Biometric data link with my online and audio inputs. I’d like to see if there’s a correlation between my blood pressure and the websites I visit regularly.

It’s now late and I have a letter to write. So I’ll just name a few others: UV graffiti, RGB UV plastic based inks, refillable spray paint cans (found some), laser projector, The Two Hands Project, and starting a hackerspace in Ann Arbor called All Hands Active.

Also, I’m working at a preschool.
-Bilal Ghalib

Finger Speakers


Finger speakers


Considering new ways to send tactile data to my skin I’ve been working on gloves with speaker coils embedded in them. As a test I wound and glued speaker coils to my fingers and was able to use them placed against a magnet to feel some pretty good vibration. This is awesome, but the only problem is that they seem to require LOTS of amplification to give me a good sensation. I think adding an air cavity with approximately 1mm of open air between the diaphram and my finger will give me a really good buzzing sensation and will try that out during the next build night at AHA. Can’t wait to figure out a way to make tiny tactile sensors that we can build in a massive array!

Two Hands Project Shirt

THP shirt in the dark

I’ve finally bought my ticket and a good group has formed around the project. Very rapidly things are coming together and it had to, there’s 9 days. I’ll be printing shirts for this project as a way to raise funds and to have something to offer. I really should make stickers and cards, I wonder if there’s a good place to do that that anyone knows.

Here’s the first prototype shirt for the Two Hands Project:

THP shirt under UV light
THP shirt under UV light

I think that a bit more formulation and my UV ink will be perfected, I think I want to use an Acetone based dye, but my concern is that the only ones I can get in that formulation that are sunlight stable fluoresce under 385/375 and that’s a bit low for general public UV light sources.

In anycase, expect invisible inks in the future. Tomorrow will be a glowey day.

Two Hands Project Update

Two Hands Project

Man! What a great response. I didn’t expect nearly such a profoundly positive experience after proposing The Two Hands Project but I guess that just means that it’s time has come. There’s still lots of work to do, and I’m just now going through the JetBlue iternary and I also still don’t have all the money I need to travel. But I’m still so pumped!

If you know of any spaces that I need to check out, or want to help out in any other way lemme know. We’re considering printing these shirts: SHIRTS!

Maker/Hackerspace Tour 2009 on JetBlue is a Documentary on Maker/Hackerspaces that will be shot in a month during a whirlwind tour of as many USA spaces as possible on the JetBlue 600$ anywhere anytime ticket!

JetBlue is offering a 599$ ticket for a month of unlimited travel. We can hop around the entire country visiting spaces for 600$ and a few couches. This is a project waiting to happen. I’m also looking for any exciting film makers and funding, check for more info and to donate / be a part of this trip.



Chicago -> Boston -> NYC -> Ann Arbor Introductions

Billy Luigi and Mitch

It was such a treat to meet up with some old San Francisco friends today Mitch and Luigi.

We were able to talk a bit about the concept of a Hatchery (the name may be over used, but it’s so apt). And how it may help fund peoples ideas, I’m thinking some services that we can offer and some profit sharing models to encourage collaboration, and to stimulate work. I’m still mulling all these thoughts over and if you’d like to discuss what a hatchery can be, a hackerspace -geekery and +focus on entrepreneurship as a goal. But if you want to talk about this, projects in general, and DIY/Maker/Hacker culture you should come to the Ann Arbor Chocolate Cafe in Ann Arbor this friday!

Ann Arbor Introductions!

Where: 330 S Main St Ann Arbor, MI
When: 7:22 PM
Why: Talk, get excited, have chocolate
Bring: An extra dollar bill

-Bilal Ghalib