"LEGO From Mars": Interactive LED Crystals Light Up When Touched

<p>Studio Roosegaarde&#8217;s new installation features hundreds of glowing rocks.</p>

CRYSTAL by Studio Roosegaarde from Daan Roosegaarde on Vimeo.

There’s something about glowing crystals, they just hold a mysterious power over people—maybe it’s all those magical adventure kids movies or maybe it’s Christopher Reeves Superman films, but no one could ever just walk past a glowing crystal without investigating further.

In a new project called, yup, Crystal from Studio Roosegaarde—who’s created a robotic lotus flower and digital kids playground in the past—has now created hundreds of crystals that glow in the dark for a new installation located at NatLab—a historical place in Eindhoven, Netherlands where Albert Einstein used to do research and Philips invented the CD, the studio tells me.

These rocks are embedded with LEDs that flicker on when people interact with them, providing a beacon that would draw any human’s attention, like the proverbial moth to the flame. And if you were wondering how artist Daan Roosegaarde got the LEDs inside the rocks, they’re made from a salt which grows around the lights in geometrical shapes and are charged wirelessly through a mat which they sit on.

The artist calls them “The new LEGO from Mars” and says "People can write letters or icons to share their stories in a very public way." Can I steal one? Seems so: "You can share or steal them," Roosegaarde says. "I see both actions as a compliment. The Crystals can be worn as high-tech jewelry or used as entrance-cards. Some cities even want chips installed to turn Crystal into a special public transport ticket." Now that would be way cooler than a MetroCard.

Seven-hundred of them will be installed at the permanent location in Eindhoven at the end 2013.

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