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Flexible LED lighting strips for auto, fashion flash

Grote Industries' ultrathin, ultrapliable LED lighting strips can be used for vehicle lighting or even sewn into fabric. And they're supposedly hardy enough to withstand hammer blows, as well as extreme humidity, heat, and cold.

LED lighting strips
LightForm strips are available in red, amber, green, and blue (although that really looks like purple to us), with white currently in development. Grote Industries

Flexible LED lighting strips could mean flash in unexpected places. Grote Industries' LightForm flexible LED lighting film, which just became commercially available, is ultrathin and ultrapliable, meaning it can be bent around corners and over contoured areas and maneuvered into various shapes. It can also be cut to fit while lit and slid into narrow crevices and between panels and trim.

The LED strips can be sewn directly into fabric. Grote Industries

Grote mainly envisions the strips being used for vehicle lighting (along carpet edges, floor vents, and window openings; inside trunks; and as ambient lighting under dashboards and seats) or sewn into fabric--say, for LED dresses and doggie porcupine costumes (too bad we found out about this just after Halloween). We're sure creative types will be able to think of plenty of other possibilities, though.

The strips, introduced at the 2009 SEMA auto trade show in Vegas Wednesday, measure 10 inches long, half an inch wide, and less than 1 millimeter thick. They're expandable: up to three, 10-inch segments can be connected, providing up to 30 inches of red, amber, green, or blue LED lighting.

LightForms come with a peel-and-stick adhesive backing that sticks to clean metal, acrylic, polycarbonate, and fiberglass surfaces. And they're hardy enough to withstand hammer blows, as well as extreme humidity, heat, and cold, according to the maker--potentially good news if you live in Fargo, N.D., and plan to trick out your car/garage/clothing in January.

We've contacted Grote for pricing information and will add that as soon as we hear back.

LED light strips in car
A nice look, but let's not get too carried away here. Grote Industries