The MB Joule is a papercraft electronic ornament that combines design, digital manufacturing, code, and hand assembly. They were crafted as a special holiday gift for our partners and friends. With over 500 Joules to individually and meticulously create, it was a lesson in small-scale manufacturing, and patience, for the MB team.
The creation of the Joules began with designing the snow-flake style pattern – a reference to the earlier holiday innovation project, ‘Snow storm.’
The production process included laser cutting the design into the card, before Kongsberg cutting and screen-printing the conductive ink. Pain-staking hand assembly was required to connect the electronics, and to paint on additional conductive ink to ensure a strong circuitry connection. Finally we glued the wire ‘hats’ that would complete the circuit, and attached the ribbons that would complete these ornaments.
We created a website to bring a wider participatory element to the project, enabling our global teams and visitors to the MB site to create their own Joules. Hundreds were showcased in the online gallery, and could then be printed at home or laser cut to create a physical object. Designed and built in-house, the site includes an in-browser tool which combines design, 3D rendering, persistent storage, and dynamic output of vector graphic files.
A display was concepted and installed in the window of our London studio. The conductive ink would not carry enough current for the strength of light required, so the paper electronics were replaced with BlinkMs, highly bright LEDs with an embedded control module that ran our pre-programmed light sequences. A silver vinyl graphic was run the length of the window, abstracted from the design that was laser cut into the Joules, and seen on the cover of the accompanying gift card.
We saw the Joules at the heart of holiday celebrations all over the world, as our recipients created and shared their handiwork with us via Twitter and Instagram using #MBJoule.