Conductive calligraphy now comes in black. We first spotted conductive ink last summer and thought the silver pen created by the researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign was really cool. Then we watched a behind the scenes video and saw exactly how much work goes into creating one of those pens. And then we went to Maker Faire and saw Bare Conductive, a similar project that uses black paint, rather than silver ink, for conductivity. The London group flew out to Maker Faire in San Francisco to show off Bare Paint Pens, which cost £6.00 online (and with free international shipping, to boot).
Bare's paint is water-soluble and sticks to all sorts of materials: paper, plastics, fabric, wood, metal, and so on. If you're really creative, you can find something the Bare paint won't stick to easily, like polypropylene, and paint on it anyway. Give it 10 minutes to dry and you can peel off the dried conductive paint and move it from surface to surface.
Bare Conductive is obviously a dream material for kids and craft projects, though these Liquidity lamps are the coolest thing we've seen with the material so far. That will probably change when the company launches Bare Skin, a conductive cosmetic material. It isn't permanent, so you won't be able to tattoo your body into flesh circuitry, but it should at least make for some wild Halloween costumes.
If you're interested in picking up one of the pens, check out Bare Conductive's tutorials for a range of projects the material's good for. Light-up papercrafts are easy mode, but light switches and proximity sensors that tie into Arduino boards take some real work. The payoff: they look really cool.