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Wireless charging pads may be more convenient than traditional wired smartphone chargers, but a team from Microsoft Research in China thinks that they're still not convenient enough. According to Yunxin Liu, Zhen Qin and Chunshui Zhao, pads still require users to consciously place their phone in a specific spot, for the express purpose of charging. Instead, they envision a system in which users just toss their phone onto a table, where it's automatically charged using a beam of light. They've already built a working prototype of the system, which is known as AutoCharge. Read More
For all the things that it's able to do, the GoPro Hero still isn't much better than other video cameras when it comes to shooting in the dark. That's why Knog introduced its made-for-GoPro Qudos camera light last year. Now, not surprisingly, the Qudos has a competitor – in the form of the Sidekick. Read More
A new crowdsourcing initiative is calling upon the public to help catalog the ever increasing library of images snapped of our planet, and more importantly its cities, at night from the International Space Station (ISS). With your help, the Cities at Night project could help map light pollution spanning the course of the 16 year period in which the images where taken, with the added bonus of giving volunteers the opportunity to flick through a catalog of stunning images that highlight the mark we make on our planet at night. Read More
Every night, for just a short time after sunset, Amsterdam Central Station becomes Rainbow Station. A four-kilowatt spotlight projects a stunning rainbow through a custom-designed liquid crystal spectral filter onto one of the station's 45 by 25 meter (148 by 82 feet) roof arches, just above platform 2b. This liquid crystal optics technology is being developed for research on exoplanets, but it will light up Amsterdam Central – and the lives of thousands of travellers – every night for a year. Read More
Squeezing public spaces into cities that are increasingly built-up gets ever more difficult. One unusual solution is to build such spaces underground. That's the plan for New York's planned Lowline park, which will see an old trolley terminal renovated and illuminated with sunlight via fiberoptics. Read More
Blu-ray discs have proven themselves superior to DVDs as storage media in light of their high capacity, high definition, and higher transfer rate. Now researchers claim that Blu-ray discs have one more advantage over DVDs: they also have the ability to help markedly improve the efficiency of solar cells, when their etched information patterns are repurposed for use as light concentrators. Read More
The city of Vienna has hosted a laser light show with a twist with University of Vienna scientists having tested a new way of transmitting data over a light beam. The technique, which exploits classical and quantum mechanics, promises to provide the ability to send much more information through the air much more securely. Read More
Researchers at Tohoku University in Japan have developed a new low-cost flat panel light source that could pioneer a new generation of brighter, cheaper and greener lighting devices to rival LEDs. The device uses arrays of highly conductive carbon nanotubes to deliver evenly-distributed illumination with high efficiency and a power consumption as low as 0.1 Watts – about 100 times lower than that of light-emitting diodes. Read More
Thomas Edison may have invented the lightbulb, but he never received the Nobel Prize for it. Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano at the University of Nagoya, and Shuji Nakamura working at Nichia Chemicals in Tokushima, Japan have proven more successful, being awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention of the blue LED, which is the key to modern energy-efficient lighting. Read More

It's the big paradox of emergency-use flashlights ... by the time you eventually need to use them, their batteries have died. Eton's new Blackout Buddy H2O, however, will reportedly still work after sitting for up to 10 years. And to turn it on, you just add water. Read More

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