Ideas for future projects:

This is a partial record of intended future projects. I would love to be working on all these now but there are only so many hours in a day.

English Concertina

Concertinas are expensive instruments. A design for an open source high-quality (e.g. as nice as a Lachenal or Wheatstone) has been a back-burner project of mine for some time. Eventually I'll finish the design and build some and post the information. I also have an idea for including internal sympathetic strings to richen the tone. For a sense of the look of it, the end pieces will be based on the "3d printed wood" end pieces described here.

Open air volumetric projection

That is, "Star Wars style" holographic projection. Yes, it's possible. I'm beginning to see hints that other folks have guessed the secret, especially in China. I put together an apparatus to prove to myself the principle a few years ago but this will take a lot of developement to turn into a system that someone would want to use.

Artificial skylight for windowless offices

A ceiling- or wall-mounted fixture that makes it appear as though sun is streaming into the room through a window. The projection tracks across the room over the course of the day and fades from daytime-white to the colors of sunset at the appropraite time. Having worked in a windowless office for over 10 years now, I've been craving this.


A "real burning" lightsaber that forms a believable blade by ignighting multiple thin streams of ejected fuel. Sounds safe right? This will be open source plans only, no product or kit.

Beautiful water caustic projector

Part of a series on creative lighting. You know when sunlight reflects off the surface of a glass water? Or when a ceiling light is focused through a wine glass and projects onto a table? These highly-aberrated semi-focused projections are called caustics, and they're quite beautiful. Who wouldn't want to have them floating around one's home?

Beautiful spot and rainbow projectors

There's so much that can be done with lighting. Photographers and cinematographers know that to truly create beautiful images, one needs to paint with the light, and yet the options one has for creatively lighting one's living space are almost non-existant. To witness what good lighting can do for an environment, go to any of the demonstration living spaces in an Ikea. But one can go much farther than that. Much further.

Liveaboard Sailboat?

One of the things everyone pretends about in life is the idea of home ownership. At least in the US, you can't! It's bullshit! Yes, owning a home gives you the right to build or modify it to be exactly what you want within the constraints of local building codes, but occupation of one's home is dependent on one's ability to pay property taxes (forever). If you stop paying the taxes you'll be kicked off of your own property. So it's not really ownership, is it? If you want to own your own living space such that no one else can ever legally take it away from you, what options are there? Well, boats come to mind.

Living aboard a boat isn't everyone's cup of tea, but sailing was a big part of my upbringing and I've never been able to totally expunge the idea of "living aboard" from my brain.

Common rebuttal: "Why would you want to confine your entire living space to a tiny, damp, rocking cabin?" As I see it, if you're going to make a sailboat your home it should not be something like a common 30-something foot sloop. That would be stupid. It's your HOME. In my area home's cost like $400K. To do it right I would want to spend about as much on a home-boat as on a conventional house, and you can get a pretty big used sailboat in good condition for that much... Like 70'. But if you go about looking at boats that big you discover the frustrating fact that they mostly seem to be designed for charter operations, which means that instead of one nice, big, usable living space, they pack in as many tiny/cramped living spaces as possible. I would love the opportunity to do a liveaboard-oriented ground-up design of a sailing vessel. I suspect that you could have a nice home with almost no compromises.

Still, I doubt my husband and I would ever actually live on a boat, haha. Cats... the need for a workshop... love of the winter, etc, but there's a niche of people for whom this lifestyle would be well suited but for whom typical sailboat designs are lacking.

Electric VTOL Aircraft "Standard Form"?

There's a lot of interest in electric aircraft now with the expectation that a breakthrough in battery energy density is forthcoming. Almost every aerospace company is working on scaling up "quadcopter technology" to produce human-flight capable electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. Like the early days of aviation, there are as many airframe architectures as their are aircraft designers, but just as fixed wing aircraft (and helicopters) eventually fell into standard forms, I feel that in 50 years we'll look back and wonder how anyone could have imagined an EVTOL looking like anything but what it will look like in 50 years.

It should be safe (beyond simply having redundant systems, because powered lift is a scary thing). It should attain to the speeds of conventional fixed-wing aircraft. And it needs to be quiet. External active noise cancellation needs to become a "thing" soon if we don't want local governments to regulate EVTOLs out of existance before they get off the ground. And finally, it should look natural... it should make people say "of course, that's what it should look like".

I hope to have a ~1/4 scale (unmanned) demonstrator in the next couple years and eventually a full-scale prototype for my own use.

Sky's Edge is a subsidiary of Lightsmith Scientific LLC. Wait, why? Because when I first decided to start a company I decided on the name Lightsmith Scientific and formed it as an LLC. A few years later I thought of Sky's Edge, which comes from an Alastair Reynolds book, and liked it much better. So on paper Lightsmith Scientific has a "DBA" in NY state for doing business as Sky's Edge.
~Justine Haupt