Electronic "Fireworks" for the 21st century



The summer in Switzerland has been really really dry. Which meant that on Swiss national day nobody was allowed to light up fireworks at all.


That brought me to the idea if it wouldn’t be cool to have a gadget that would work like a firework but be reusable and electronics.

Maple seeds fly pretty good. Plus their shape let’s them fly passively without any motor on them.


So, my idea develop a gadget shaped like a maple seed, realtively light and with many LEDs on it. You could then either throw it up in the air (e.g. grab it on the “Wing”). Or use e.g. a bow (delivered with the product) to shoot it high in the air.

I think it would be most impressive in the night (LEDs). Advantage is that it doesn’t need any control etc. It’ll land and come down automatically. I also don’t know of any similar flight product specifically for the night.


Here’s an article where some have developed a drone based on the maple seed shape. Note my concept would only passively fly. So no engine etc. Just LEDs and maybe sound. https://www.zdnet.com/article/video-lockheed-martin-debuts-maple-seed-inspired-drone/

Here’s also a picture of a maple seed if you’ve never seen one before :slight_smile:

Maple seeds flying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kd5qCNH_g3Q

Do you think such a project would be doable? I mean how though would you estimate challenges such as weight distribution, geometry, material, weight, etc.?


I like the idea, i had the same problem at my place this summer.
If you add a addressable LED strip in a straight line on the wing, you could make it write text messages in the sky.
like this cheap LED fans whit display.

To measure the rotation i think it would work whit two acceleration sensors, and a messurement of the centrifugal force.

One problem that i see there is the saturation of the sensors and also if the rotation is fast enought to write something.


Great idea!! :wink:

Seeing the text messages flying in the air would be really cool. Also I thought it might be cool to use the maple flyer as a target so you could shoot at it with various objects. The goal would be to hit it while it’s in the air.
The message could either write a text or show something like a target.

Maybe a double maple seed shape would work better for this. It wouldn’t have to rotate so fast.

The rotation speed is definitely a concern. Also how much the electronics can weight. I’m not exactly an aviation expert :yum:

What did you mean regarding the saturation of the sensors? Do you mean when the acceleration is really high?


yes, if the acceleration is to high, the sensor will just give you the max value. But that thing is probably really slow anyway, then it’s not a problem.


But that thing is probably really slow anyway, then it’s not a problem.
Let’s hope it’s not too slow, otherwise the text won’t look good :yum:

I really think the shape will be the biggest challenge.

My first shot would be to try different 3D prints. So I did a google search:

Failed attempts

Seems successful

Btw, this project is not reserved just for me. Anybody in the forum who feels like trying it out can do so :smiley: