As a kid, the concept of ‘glow-in-the dark’ was always tantalizing; the sharp explosion of color radiating from the darkness as soon as you turned off the light. You always wondered just what made those adhesive planets and stars stuck to your ceiling shine so bright. Even in our older years, plenty of instances in pop culture have used the illuminating idea, more specifically Tron. As of this year, a fully functional cycle based off of Tron: Legacy’s killer vehicle was sold to the highest bidder for just around $77,000. To this day, we ponder how to replicate the idea and glow like we’ve never glowed before. That is until now.
Thanks to Lumilor, a product developed by Darkside Scientific a few years back, patrons will now have the potential to deck out whatever they desire in the electroluminescent paint, giving it the power to glow with an electrical charge. After collaborating with Lexus and their luxurious Lexus RC F model, as well as M&C Saatchi, the vehicle can now display the driver’s heartbeat on the exterior of the ride as he drives due to the elusive biometric paintwork mixed with panelwork technology.
No matter how much you’ve pimped out your ride, this will bring the connection to your car to its fullest potential. Shawn Mastrian, one of the men behind Lumilor, gave us the exclusive on how the product came to be, some of his best designs, and what to expect from the illuminating luxury car.
Electroluminescent paint is a pretty unique concept on its own – how did it come about?
It started back in 2009. A gentleman by the name of Andy Zsinko - his family had experience in the auto body industry, so he was an experienced painter. He was experienced with electronics, he had done some computer consulting work, etc. – he was one of these guys that was just a mad scientist. He loved to tinker with things. He got a hold of certain ideas, and he wouldn’t let them go until he was able to solve them, so at some point he was painting a bike for a friend of his, and he used a glow-in-the-dark paint that he had whipped up, and it was a beautiful paint job. The problem was that you couldn’t control the light. He knew electroluminescence, which had been around for a while, but nobody had really been able to take electroluminescence and turn it into paint
About a year and a half later, he had shown me what he had done. He had told me he was doing it and he showed me a bike that he had painted, and it worked, and there was something about seeing the paint that lights up for the first time – of a paint job come to life – it’s really pretty startling, and there’s a primal thing that happens to you. And so, Andy and I started working together on the concept and we got our patent filed in 2011, we got out patent issued in 2013, and it’s just been a wild ride since that point.
Is LumiLor something the average joe can apply or it’s all done by professionals?
We used to do all the application ourselves. It’s a very intricate process, so the tenant of LumiLor has always been that you can apply it with equipment that is in any professional paint. You don’t need any specialized equipment to do that, and that’s the difference between what we have and what has been on the marketplace already. A lot of times what’s out on the marketplace – you need specialized equipment that can only do it on a flat surface that has real exacting tolerances, and what we’ve been able to do is engineer some of that into the coating itself so that instead of needing a million-dollar machine that prints it onto a flat two-dimensional surface at a precise thickness, we have the ability to take it through a spray gun and apply it to any three-dimensional object in the way that you would apply paint itself, so we can do things as small as pinstripes, and we can do large, complex curves, such as the outside of a car or motorcycle. We’ve gotten to the point right now where a layman can actually apply the paint with some degree of success. What we’re now going to start doing is people across the world are going to be able to start applying this stuff themselves, and we’re going to be able to ship them with the product they have. Hopefully soon we’re going start seeing this stuff everywhere at some point.
Lexus is a pretty luxurious car company so what drew them to work with you for this campaign?
They had a vision for what this could do, because a lot of this paint that lights up sounds like it’s simple to understand, but you’ve really got to have a vision to understand exactly what you can do with that, and people just didn’t get it, They made us an offer that we couldn’t refuse – they worked us through it – and then we deployed to the Lexus executive team – I don’t think they even understood what they were getting into until they saw it, and it just blew their minds. If you look at the pictures of the car, it’s a showroom quality silver-paint finish during the day, and at night it has the electroluminescence effect that has the heart rate monitoring in it. it’s a beautiful car to begin with – and there’s nothing to see – there’s not even a line or paint line or anything like that. It’s just a completely smooth coating, and that’s just one of the advantages of our paint – that we can do hidden effects like that.
How does the ‘heartbeat’ technology work? Are we going to see this replicated on any other cars?
This is a one-time car that they’ve produced. It’s a showpiece, and that’s a lot of what we’re doing in the trade is these one-time showpieces. All we’re doing is painting a light bulb onto the outside of a car, which is a pretty big “all we’re doing.” It sounds simple, but each one of those panels is an individual light bulb, so it’s just like an LED display – any sort of normal lighting display that would do that sort of flickering with the electronics. We’re just turning lights on and off that are responding through a board to the heartbeat of a car, but really what this shows is the magnitude of what we can achieve with somebody that has the right vision.
Cars seem to be the most common item to use the paint for. Has there been any obscure products you’ve used LumiLor on?
We’ve done bicycles as well, so a lot of things along that nature. We’ve done helmets, we’ve done a guitar, we’ve done some trade promotion items. We’ve talked to movie production companies about using this as a special effect. It’s a special effect that you don’t have to computer animate, so you can actually do a lot of effects in real-time production without doing a lot of post CGI. It saves them a lot of time and money, and it creates a really neat effect that becomes a part of what you’re doing, so we have the ability to do that.
We have the ability to paint light literally anywhere, and anything can become a light, so the wall in your house can now become a light. You can walk in and just turn on the ceiling. It might be a bit of an expensive application, but if you turn on the ceiling and it would be interesting, because your whole room would glow, and you wouldn’t even necessarily know where the light was coming from. You can have the lamps in your room have no bulbs in them and just have the shades produce light. Those are other things that we can do with this product, and really the limitation that we have is we’re supply limited, and we’re fixing that in October. We’re really getting a lot of artists out there. It’s really the creativity, and people just don’t understand that they can literally paint with light, they can paint light onto things they have and make it something that has never been seen before.
What is most exciting to you about the upcoming campaign with Lexus?
To us it’s just a bunch of light bulbs on a car, but to the world, it’s a car that’s come alive, and that car only comes alive through the use of our paint. And we have now the ability with our paint to create an interface between the electronic world and the physical world, and then you can respond to various things – it can respond to music, we can sound activate it. You’ve seen some of the other videos on our site are sound activated, and it’s limitless what you can do with it if you get it in the right hands.
Check out the effects of Luminor in the gallery below.
Photos by Lexus