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As technology continues to improve, it affords the opportunity to create new, unique, and unusual products that not only solve problems, but add enjoyment and entertainment to everyday life . . . quickly, easily, and affordable. This is what Stephen Taylor, inventor of Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights, and Managing Partner of Sigma Two Group LLC, has done.


Based on a simple idea, Taylor explored the best way to very accurately recreate the unusual flash patterns of Fireflies, also called Lightning Bugs. Not able to find any device or resource available to accomplish what he desired, he began detailed research of the species Lampyridae (Fireflies) and set about creating a methodology to exactly mimic "Firefly' flashing.

Through the use of high technology micro controllers and customized light emitting diodes he arrived at a method to accomplish his goal. After building several prototypes that proved his theories, he filed for a utility (method) patent which was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office 2007 - Patent 7,212,932.


Micro controllers are small semiconductor integrated circuits which are basically a single-chip computer that includes a clock (frequency timer), memory (flash and static) , a core processor, plus an input and output capability. Using these microchips allow Stephen Taylor to actually insert into the 'chip' a detailed program that copies flash patterns from the firefly species he wants to replicate.


Next he needed to find a device that again mimicked the small little 'lantern' that's at the tail of Mother Nature's real fireflies. For this he selected another high tech device, a light emitting diode, known to most people as an LED.

However, the key was having the LED the exact color as a real firefly. He accomplished this by having a major LED manufacturer custom build a special LED just for the Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights. In addition, he developed a unique 'Firefly LED light' design that was awarded U.S. Patent D580,074


In order to use the latest environmentally friendly technology, Taylor designed the 'Fireflies' to use renewable solar energy by incorporating a high efficiency solar panel containing 16 solar cells. The solar cells are laminated onto the panel to maximize the transfer of solar energy (light) through the plastic laminate onto the silicon cells.

Using the laminate solar panel rather than the traditional epoxy encapsulation method assures no yellowing, cracking, or crazing of the panel. This means the solar panel will have a long life while maximizing the conversion of sunlight into electrical power to run the micro controllers and LEDs.


While having solar power 'Fireflies' is an excellent objective, Taylor also understood that there would be many situations where people would like to operate their 'Fireflies' indoors, or in areas where there was no sunlight. The answer, make the unit operate from both the solar rechargeable batteries, but also from everyday standard double 'A' Alkaline batteries. Just pop out the rechargeable batteries and install the 'AA' alkaline batteries. It's that simple. Plus, the 'Fireflies' operate continuously for weeks.


While fireflies are fun to watch as they flash, flicker, and fade on a warm summer's evening, they are also the focus of scientific research. Fireflies also known as lightning bugs, are one of a small number of species that create their own bioluminescence. Learning more about how and why these tiny creatures flash signals to each other is the subject of ongoing scientific research, and Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights are there to help.

The scientific paper titled, "Energy and Predation Costs of Firefly Courtship Signals" published in Volume 170, Number 5 of The American Naturalist, was authored by William A. Woods Jr., Holly Hendrickson, Jennifer Mason, and Sara M. Lewis, Professor, Department of Biology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts.

The subject of this research study was animal courtship signals, specifically a comprehensive assessment of signal (flashing) cost for Photinus fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae), using controlled experiments to measure both the energy and predation costs associated with their bioluminescent courtship signals.

To successfully conduct the research, Dr. Lewis required reliable artificial fireflies that would exactly mimic the flash patterns of the Photinus Greeni firefly. Dr. Lewis contacted Stephen Taylor, inventor of Firefly Magic® Firefly Lights, and patent holder on the methodology of using microprocessors to recreate accurate firefly flash patterns. Her objective was to obtain a device that would correctly reproduce the unusual flash pattern of the Photinus Greeni.

Taylor designed and built the units described in the study as follows: "We used battery-powered microprocessors to drive 565nm LEDs (Lampyridae Lures, Firefly Magic, Apple Valley, CA) that were programmed to accurately simulate the typical mating signals produced by P. greeni males (paired 100-ms pulses separated by a 1,200-ms interpulse interval)".

At the end of the Study, the following acknowledgement was listed: "We thank S. Taylor at Firefly Magic for providing us with Lampyridae (firefly) Lures . . ."

In recognition of the importance of Firefly research, Stephen Taylor and Firefly Magic® donated both the development time and firefly lures research equipment to Tufts University.


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