T-shirt lumineux


Il s'agit d'un projet collaboratif datant de 2004. L'idée était de créer un t-shirt comportant un visuel dynamique : un t-shirt lumineux.

Cette page est le document de conception en langue anglaise envoyée à une entreprise de Hong Kong, NeonFilm, afin d'obtenir la réalisation de quelques prototypes.


This document is the complete specification of the Electrocardiogram E-shirt Animation hereafter designed by EEA acronym.


26 may 2004 draft version

General expected aspect

The _GIF_ animation on figure 1 represent a simplified electrocardiogram on a three dimensional grid. The major visual effect is the simulation of the persistence effect (remanence) of the human vision.
figure 1: electrogram animation


On this GIF animation only the electrocardiogram appear. This is in a goal of simplicity. In the final animation the grid must appear on the design

Design specification

Design specifications in figure 2 are in AI (Adobe Illustrator™) format.

figure 2: complete design

The grid have no animation effect but I don't know if it must be made of EL or not. An EL grid will make it brighter maybe too much regarding to the global design. In another hand a non EL grid will not appear on the design compared to the electrocardiogram. If making an EL grid is not too complicated let's do that. Neonfilm opinion is needed for this point.

Colours references are detailed on figure 3.

figure 3: colours references

These colours represent the general idea of what I am expected. I suppose that some problems may appear in the colours choice. Neonfilm opinion is needed for this point.


The design has been made with Adobe illustrator 10™

Animation specification

This chapter describe how the animation of the electrocardiogram signal is made. It is cyclic and it is only based on lightning effects.

Lightning effects

Signal is a connected polyline composed of 6 segments as shown on figure 4: These segments are designed by their number from 1 to 6.

figure 4: polyline

As I have no idea of how the EL film work, then I consider the following hypothesis :

  1. EL film have only two lighting states : ON and OFF. Light is displayed on ON state and then no light is displayed on OFF state
  2. EL film can be transparent in order to superpose them
  3. EL colour can be defined on a sharp way


The description hereafter follows these hypothesis. If any of these hypothesis is wrong, meaning that EL film behaviour is not what I thought it could be then this paragraph is obsolete and must be redesign

In order to simulate the remanence effect, 4 colours are used :

  1. first one [A] is the colour of static signal permanently displayed : the darkest green
  2. others one [B,C,D] are green and progressives in their brightness
  3. [D] is the brightest green used

Animation consist in lighting every segment 4 times according to the 4-colours palette.

Let’s consider a complete cycle of animation (there are 6 segments and 4 colours thus complete cycle contain 9 steps):

steps 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 A A A A A A all segments are displayed in the darkest green [A]
2 D A A A A A S1 is lit in the brightest green [D] ; others segments don't change
3 C D A A A A S2 is lit in [D], S1 is lit in [C] ; others segments don't change
4 B C D A A A S3 is lit in [D], S2 is lit in [C], S1 is lit in [B] ; others segments don't change
5 A B C D A A S4 is lit in [D], S3 is lit in [C], S2 is lit in [B], S1 is lit in [A] ; others segments don't change
6 A A B C D A ...
7 A A A B C D and so on
8 A A A A B C ...
9 A A A A A B step 9 (the last one) : S6 is lit in [B] and all others are lit in [A]

These alternation of colours allow to simulate the famous persistence of human eyes in a very simple way.

Segments 5 & 6 must not be replaced by one segment. This is important to give the illusion that signal stay longer when it is flat at the start and at the end of the width.

Timing consideration

Timeline is also very important in order to render a fluent pass-through of the electrocardiogram signal. In order to reach that goal, I associate a delay to each frame (step of the animation). The delay of the first frame is 1 second (i.e. the 1st frame is displayed during 1 second). All others 8 frames have a delay of 0.1 second.

I choose a different, longer delay for the first image because I want to avoid the effect become quite irritating. Ratio between this delay are important and must not be changed because it cause the animation to become broken and then very ugly. But it could be a good point to have the ability to change the delay duration in the respect of the ratio. For example {2 seconds / 0.2 second} or {0.5 second / 0.05 second}. Propositions from EL designers are welcomed and encouraged !

Conception ideas

This chapter need to be validated by NEONFILM because it suppose several technical considerations. These are only ideas.
Lighting effect of a same segment could be made with several film layers (to get 4 colours, I need 4 layers) : one in green (the darkest) and others in different level of grey in order to decrease the brightness of the green. However, I hope that this layers principle not require a too much complicated system of electric cables… Let us know.


The major problem embedding such EL product on a tee-shirt is the washing process. All the components with electric stuff must be removed before washing.
Meaning all electric stuff must resist to sweat or water projection (in small quantities).

figure 5 describes EL installation on the tee-shirt.

figure 5: installation

Product is composed of 4 pieces : tee-shirt, EL design, wire, electronic part. Batteries are included in the Electronic Part.

  • EL design is fixed on the tee-shirt with scratch film. That's mean a scratch film must be glued on the EL design.
  • EL design must have a connector to plug it to the wire
  • wire length is about 42 centimeters (without connectors)
  • wire have one connector at both ends
  • electronic part have a connector to plug it to the wire
  • an internal pocket is made on the tee-shirt to put the electronic part in.