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Like the Chevrolet Spark EV, this revolutionary luminescent elastic thread offers instant energy-efficient power and surprising performance

By Jordan Goodson

Calling all fans of Electronic Dance Music, Tron and tech fashion. Lumi-cord is a new battery-free EL wire alternative that you’ll likely want to get your hands on sooner rather than later. This new luminescent elastic thread was stumbled upon by a 3D Printing company called Protoparadigm while it was developing long-duration photoluminescent materials. If the similarities between its development and that of Silly Putty are any indication, you’ll probably see Lumi-cord all over the place very soon.

Just as the Spark EV’s 400 lbs.-ft. of torque beats out the Ferrari 458 Italia’s torque, Lumi-cord beats out your typical neon sticks—since it’s charged by both intense light (the sun) and ambient light (a fluorescent or black light bulb). In addition to these dexterous charging capabilities, the Lumi-cord emits a visible glow even in daytime shade, and will continue glowing for more than a day.

The Spark EV uses similarly cutting-edge technology: Regenerative braking captures energy that would otherwise be lost while braking, decelerating or going downhill. And liquid thermal conditioning maximizes its performance in extreme weather conditions.

While Lumi-cord could take over the night-glow market simply by being more energy-efficient, it doesn’t stop there: It can even be punctured without oozing all over the place.

Its versatility is remarkable as well. Since it can be cut, woven and stretched, the practical applications are inexhaustible. It can be used as jewelry, in clothing, as clothing … hell, I’m visualizing how great it would be to apply this stuff to my bicycle and have my very own light cycle—a fashion statement almost as fiercely fun as the Spark EV. Not to mention the fact that they both come in a neon-like Electric Blue.

Beyond selling to the individual consumer, Lumi-cord will likely get picked up by brands such as Northface, Coleman and REI. How much easier would navigating a campsite be if its borders were outlined in Lumi-cord? How many parents would choose a jacket embroidered with Lumi-cord for their children over a regular, old-fashioned “reflective” jacket?

But the people behind Lumi-cord are far from soulless corporate shills. For this year’s Burning Man festival, they partnered with several camps to provide black-light charging stations throughout Black Rock City—cutting down on the chances of someone being run over in the darkness by a roving monster car. In just a few seconds, Burners were able to juice up their Lumi-cord headbands, bracelets or what-have-yous and be on their merry way without worrying about becoming desert roadkill.

Currently, Lumi-cord is in its second iteration. The new version has a smoother finish, increased light output and a wider diameter. It’s also available in green as well as blue, enabling you to weave together two-tone items.

Spark EV designers, are you listening?

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

Jordan Goodson, the geek in the darkness, guides his readers on Gadget Review through the vast catacombs of tech and science. He journeys the interwebs searching for any and all relevant data to be absorbed and shared.


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