A Light Bulb Moment!

20 Sep A Light Bulb Moment!


Did you know the brain is able to produce the energy needed to light up a single bulb?

Your brain contains about 100 billion tiny cells called neurons. There are so many that counting all of them would take you 3000 years. When we dream, we laugh, think, see and move, all thanks to the tiny chemical and electrical signals sent from one neuron to another along milliards of small “highways” in our brains. Believe it or not, brain activity never stops. Every second, the brain sends out a countless number of messages. If you puncture your finger with a pin, the sensory neurons in your finger will send information to your brain at the speed of more than 240 kilometers per hour. The brain will then process this information and send signals to the muscles of your hand to draw your finger away from the pin. Your neurons create and send more messages than all the phones in the entire world. And if one neuron creates only a small amount of electrical energy, all the neurons together can form a sufficient amount of electrical energy to power a low voltage light bulb. Hence the term, ‘Light Bulb Moment!’

I experienced a light bulb moment last night attending one of our Spark Labs classes. The class was on circuitry and how to use conductive thread to illuminate an LED light bulb into a piece of wearable art. The last time I was taught anything about circuitry there was a potato involved and I was minus 4 decades of existence.

My brain felt like the above picture when listening to the instructor talk about the positive circuits and the negative circuits and how they cannot cross or touch and blah, blah, blah. To say the least, I was struggling to keep up with the class. I am not sure if anyone else was feeling this way, but I really had questioned my decision to attend. All of the other aspects of the class, the painting of the supplies, cutting, sewing, etc., were all things I could do with my eyes closed. The actual science behind getting my necklace to light up, not so much.

I continued to struggle with the instructions and the ideology behind the whole thing, when all of a sudden, it happened! THE LIGHT BULB WENT OFF! I got it! I actually understood the science involved with circuits and was able to conceptualize how it would pertain to things I encounter every day. This might not sound that exciting to most, but for a right-brained girl living in a left-brained (STEAM) world, THIS IS HUGE! I was quite pleased with my accomplishment and was then able to actually assist instructing some of the other participants.

So, what should you do with all of this nonsense that I just gave you about my inadequate knowledge of cool geeky things? 1) You should take away that no matter what age you are, you are never too old to learn (or relearn) new things. 2) You should never think that you can’t accomplish a task because you don’t understand how all of the parts work. I knew I would be able to complete the necklace even if I didn’t understand it all, but the fact that I actually got it – during the class and not at 3:00am in the middle of the night – that was fantastic for me. And 3) When you do achieve a skill, make sure you share it with others. Consider using your knowledge on knitting or sewing or computer modeling as a volunteer in Spark Labs. Things that come naturally to you, may not to others, and with your help, they might be able to have a light bulb moment like I did! It makes you feel like you can conquer the world! (Well, not really, but maybe I could atleast understand how the light switch in my house works.)

And remember that our Spark Labs Makerspace now has Open Lab Hours for you to come in and experiment and tinker on your own. Just a few short quizzes on using the technology and you can be creating circuits by soldering or actually working on a 3D Printer.