Electroluminescent paint: like EL wire you apply with a brush

A company called Lumilor has announced a permanent electroluminescent paint that can be selectively illuminated by applying a charge to it. Burning Man attendees are already familiar with the ubiquitous, cheap EL wire, but this takes things to a new level:

The LumiLor TM electroluminescent coating system is a patent-pending, practical, durable and affordable technology that can be illuminated with a simple electrical current.

Used in conjunction with simple driver electronics, LumiLor will illuminate any surface brightly, and is capable of being custom-animated to flash in sequenced, strobed, and sound activated modes.

The potential for customization is practically limitless!



    1. I can’t wait until goalies start putting it on their helmets!

      Though I suspect it would take about 30 seconds for the NHL to forbid it.

    2.  A billion uses!  (1) my next bike will be incredible (2) If someone steals it, the alarm will make it flash “stolen buy the thief sitting on it!”

  1.  No more putting up and taking down Xmas lights. Just paint designs on your house and then flip a switch come December.

  2. No way, we finally invented a liquid that will conduct electricity even when it dries? What’s next, using steam to drive a turbine?

    Simple “duh, why didn’t we think of that in the 19th century” things like this make me still think we’ll stumble on a solution to faster-than-light travel someday and just go “man, the answer was right there in front of us all the time!”

    1. It’s not conducting that’s nifty, per se, it’s the illumination.  I see myriad uses for this paint.  Especially if I can simply paint it with a brush, connect a power source, controller board like an arduino and WHAM!  Instant custom, illuminated, permanent sign.  Anywhere.

      I’m not sure about  the possibility of different colors, even after watching the video… looks pretty monochrome.  That’s how the LCD and e-ink started, though.

      1. Of course, you can’t just buy a can of this stuff and experiment – looks like they want to make you go to a “licensed” paint shop and have them do it for you for $$$ even though it’s apparently “incredibly easy” to apply and needs “no special tools”. Grr.

        1. It can be done with standard paint shop spray equipment, but having a human spray paint a capacitor 3mils thick and wire it properly is not incredibly easy. It is labor intensive as there are 5 layers of our sprayable material. if we just shipped everyone the material with instructions we would have some incredibly pissed customers when it didnt work. If you want to blow minds it needs to be done by a trained professional.  

  3. This would be so cool, not convinced it’s real though. Please provide more proof, I so want to believe…

    Glow-in-the-dark paint which takes a light charge would look much the same. And you will notice that they do not really show “turning it on and having it light up” much…just one shot that looks like a TABLET, which would of course light up without any paint at all.

    That dragon head is uber cool. Show turning it on! Prove it’s not just glow-paint. Show me this stuff painted on a window, or a board. Most of these shots look like the design is placed over a tablet.

    1. Agree. The videos in the link were good, but the one used in this post was terrible. Didn’t convey the idea at all. A cool snake design and thumping music isn’t going to do the work for you.

    2. Here’s one where they turn it on in front of a crowd in Daytona… looks like instant-on to me:


      Gloriously cool possibilities. My Frazetta-style unicorn custom van is going to rock.

      Seriously, though, since things like the de-icing elements on car windows are already screen-printed, I see no reason that this can’t be.

  4. As a sign painter, I was immediately drawn to investigate this when I first heard about it, and, according to the rep I traded emails with, “You cannot brush paint our product. It requires spray technology”, so you might want to adjust the headline to read “with a spray gun”, rather than brush (although, to be honest, I didn’t investigate so far as to determine what precisely about the paint makes it sprayable yet not brushable).

  5. Will it be distracted driving it you can’t take your eyes OFF of the other cars on the road? (But not necessarily the ones your should be keeping track of?)

  6. That’s a motorcycle gas tank pictured, right?

    Is it really wise to apply an electrical charge to a metal container containing a highly flammable liquid?

    1. Electrical charge isn’t bad. Sparks are. 

      Since all motor vehicles use the chassis as common ground, pretty much everything has electricity going through it all the time anyways.

    2. Well, the gas tank in your car already has an electric motor submerged in the fuel, not to mention the electricity running through the fuel gauge float.

    1.  That was my first thought. Ever since I read Gibsons’ novels as a teen I’ve always thought that my first and only tattoo would be an electro-luminescent one.. Or bio-luminescent.. I’m not picky.. And I don’t want the glow-in-the-dark variety..

    2. You probably don’t want that. EL requires high voltage AC to light up (although the current is negligible) which isn’t exactly pleasant when applied to skin.

        1. Or they’ll go out of their way to give you life-threatening wounds just so they can watch the EMTs try the defibrillator afterwards.

  7. I wonder how much this would cost to paint a car.

    Finally I can have the proper Repo Man style glowing car.

  8. RGB clusters of paint dots on the wall, arranged in a 1080 x 1920 array. Drive it with an Raspberry Pi. Video wall? Depends on how fast this material can be switched on and off.

  9. EL wire loses luminosity with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, if this stuff shares that trait you’d only want to ride that bike after dark or lose the effectiveness of that badass and expensive paint job! 

  10. I’m disappointed that the reporter apparently didn’t bother to do some research before posting the press announcement, implying anyone could just brush something on and make it glow. First, the basic technology involved in *all* EL display devices hasn’t changed in the 40+ years it’s been around…it ALWAYS requires creating a capacitor of uniform thickness, which means multiple layers of special coatings: sandwiching the electroluminescent material between two conductive surfaces (one being transparent), attaching electrodes of some sort to both sides, and sealing it all up against short circuits. The key materials are degraded by moisture, oxygen, sunlight, to name a few, which also calls for sealing the sandwich as much as practical. It is also somewhat brittle after it dries, which means repeated flexing degrades the material as well. so no, you can’t just brush something onto some fabric and create an instant TRON suit. :P

    Kits of materials allowing one to create a custom EL display have been around for at least 25 years and the basic materials aren’t especially hard to get or make. So whatever is patent-pending from this manufacturer isn’t exactly breaking through major barriers to bring EL tech to DIY enthusiasts. Which seems to be exactly the impression intended from this post.

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