Teeth that flash in the dark may not be a teen trend in Japan just yet - despite what some over-excited bloggers have claimed - but the inventors of LED lights as mouth jewelry have been so taken aback at the interest in their project that they plan to start marketing the gadgets in the near future.

What started out as an art-meets-technology experiment by lighting designers Motoi Ishibashi and Daito Manabe was snapped up as an advertising opportunity by Laforet Harajuku, a clothing store in Tokyo's most fashionable district.

The ad campaign, in the store's main window, involved images of dozens of young men and women with teeth that glow different colors. In a TV commercial, models danced with their eyes closed and smiles flickering different colours.

"The reaction from passers-by to the images is that they are cool," store spokesman Takahiro Yoshida told Relaxnews. "Young people in Japan like new kinds of fashion and they say this is unique."

Motoi said he had been inspired by a video of LED Throwies, the small lights that can be affixed to magnets and thrown onto metal surfaces, looking like neon graffiti.

The ad campaign was quickly seized upon by bloggers, with Nick Bilton of the New York Times claiming in a column on January 21 on Gainseville.com that the new "fashionable accessories for your teeth" are "quickly becoming a sought after accessory."

Manabe used Twitter to reveal that he had received many inquiries from reporters asking about the new fashion movement among schoolgirls for glowing teeth, but had to disappoint them by revealing that the trend does not exist.

But it will.

"We want to produce these teeth lights commercially and hope to be able to do that in the next two months or so," Manabe told Relaxnews. "We think people who are going to parties will want to wear them, or young people when they go to a music festival or club."

In the videos released to date, a single computer controlled the changing colors for all the models, but individual wearers will be able to pre-program the colors they want the lights to be or the speed at which they change color.

The documentary on what and why:

The TV advert for La Foret:


Manabe's website: