Let There Be Light

  • Posted on: 22 May 2014
  • By: Shawn DeWolfe

Lighting is the key artifact that separates us from other species. Termites build massive structures. Chimps wield sticks to swat their foes. Our ability to make fire and control the darkness is what sets us apart. Pushing back the darkness is an expensive prospect. Electricity is used to light our lives. In some countries, workers are restricted by the absence of artificial light which hampers their ability to work or carry out other activities after sunset. There are some cool things that can banish the darkness.

Solar Highways

Last week, I wrote about some cool advents that are coming. I talked about the solar roadways project that wants to convert asphalt and concrete roads with glass tiles that feed solar cells.

Bring The Sun Indoors

Using fiber optics, Sun Direct (https://www.sunlight-direct.com/product/) pipes sunlight from a collection assembly in direct sunlight through plastic optical fiber (“POF”) to an interior space that needs the light. The assembly will track the sun throughout the day to conduct the most light possible. The lenses filter out harmful ultraviolet rays. It is capable of delivering from 60,000 to 120,000 lumens, depending on the length of the fibers used. Additional units can be networked to minimize cost, optimize efficiency and maximize reliability. Imagine using this to light offices. Offices are largely operated in daytime. This lighting is not electric. When BC Hydro fails, this keeps going. The light will not generate the same amount of heat that electrical lighting issues, diminishing the need for air conditioning. The light can be used for any purpose: it can be used to light interior gardens; or even be directed to photovoltaic cells to generate electricity.

Gravity Light

GravityLight is a gravity-powered lamp designed by the company Deciwatt for use where electricity hard to obtain as a replacement for kerosene lamps. It uses a bag filled with weight (eg. rocks or earth) attached to a plastic chain, which slowly descends similar to the weight drive in a cuckoo clock like mechanism. This action powers the light for up to thirty minutes. It’s not magic. A person needs to lift the weight to reset the clockwork.

Wouldn’t it be cool if someone built a water wheel light? When it rains, rainwater is funneled to a water wheel and turns the mechanism to generate a small light source. If you could ruggedize the assembly, a water wheel light could provide light when it’s storms, co-incidentally when electrical service could be knocked out leaving locals in the dark.
Here’s an IndieGogo campaign that was connected to the project - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/gravitylight-lighting-for-developing-countries

Glow In The Dark Stone Walkways

British company, Pro-Teq, has pioneered “Starpath”, an environmentally-friendly alternative to street lighting that also has anti-slip properties make it ideal for use on bike paths. According to Pro-Teq Surfacing’s, Hamish Scott: “There is nothing like Starpath in the world, this product adjusts to the natural light, so if it is pitch black outside the luminous natural earth enhances, and if the sky is lighter, it won’t release as much luminosity – it adjusts accordingly.” Starpath can be quickly and easily applied to existing paths – a 150m stretch currently being trialled in Cambridge was installed and ready to use in less than five hours.
More on this: https://www.eta.co.uk/2013/10/25/glow-in-the-dark-cycle-paths/

Last updated date

Monday, September 30, 2019 - 17:12