Project OpenCyborgNails

Of Nail based electronic aesthetic decoration. Discovered as a common interest during an informal discussion among GOSHers in the middle of HQB shoppping session.

Surface mounted components and addressing the power supply problem.


And when your nails grow long enough that the LEDs are at the end of the nail, you can trim your nails and turn them into a nice glowing necklace :slight_smile:

One kind-of easy solution is to mount 0201 LEDs on a flat flex cable with a pickup loop. Then paste the FFC onto your fingernails! Put the transmitting coil in the purse or just palm it. Or make it into a ring.

For prototyping, you can solder the LEDs on a bit of 3M copper tape then cut into strips and paste onto the fingernails. Can also incorporate silver ink to extend the pickup loop onto the hands, like henna painting but silver!


at steamhead we found those flex PCBs the size of finger nails powering just an LED via NFC from any capable smartphone.
Together with @kaspar we tried reversing it and believe it’s just based around 2 anti-parallel SMD diodes feeding 2 SMD capacitors for AC-DC conversion plus 1 LED. The coil hocked up to the diodes-capcacitor-LED circuit consists of 2 x 12 windings (front & back side) with an average loop size of about 5 x 9 mm if I remember well.

That’s brilliant work! And I didn’t know those things existed, or that NFC put out that much power.

Aaahh good memories of discussing microfluidics-on-a-nail for food poisoning sensors we have with Denisa…


it doesn’t go very far though. max. 2 cm between the nail circuit and the coil in the phone maybe. And in order to have it flash constantly (with a semi-random pattern) the phone must be set to a mode searching for NFC tags

Here is a rough schematic we made using visual inspection at steamhead.

1 Like