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Light

When looking for the best materials with which to construct a solar cell, the obvious preference is for one that absorbs light, not emits it. But researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have discovered a material that does both. Amongst a variety of potential applications, the researchers say the material, Perovskite, opens up the possibility of mobile devices with displays that double as solar cells. Read More
A new house on the Thames in London not only accommodates a family of 10, but offers special flood-prevention measures and a clever scheme for taking in natural light while maintaining privacy. It’s called the Garden House, as it sits in a sunken garden courtyard surrounded by open terrace and greenery. But its real achievements are harder to guess. The sculptural volumes contain a five-bedroom house; the glamorous-looking courtyard is actually a high-sided watertight concrete container, and the blank upper walls conceal light wells that cleverly let in sunlight without overlooking the neighbors. Read More

UK-based Green Spirit Creations is the latest team to try its hand at paper-based lighting solutions. Seeking out discarded materials from local shop-owners, its stylish household lamps are made from 100 percent recycled cardboard (bulbs, wiring and switches aside). Read More

The human body clock is the curse of any shift worker or traveler arriving in a new time zone. Although one's body clock can be adjusted by external cues, such as light – a factor that devices such as the Re-Timer and Litebook are designed take advantage of – the adjustment period can vary significantly for different people. Now researchers have discovered the mechanism that controls how easily such adjustments can be made. Read More
Placing guidelights up your hallway or down your staircase can involve bulky plugin solutions or a professional and expensive installation. SnapRays Guidelight, an easy-install outlet cover with built-in LEDs, could simplify this process by turning any standard power outlet into a night light without the need for re-wiring or batteries. Read More
In research that could lead to improved treatment of chronic and debilitating pain conditions, scientists at Stanford Bio-X have shown that pain sensitivity in genetically modified mice can be altered by shining different colors of light on their paws. Read More
If flexible electronic devices are ever going to become practical for real-world use, the circuitry incorporated into them will have to be tough and resilient. We're already seeing progress in that direction, including electrical wires that can still carry a current while being stretched. However, what if the application calls for the use of fiber optics? Well, scientists from Belgium may have that covered, too. They've created optical circuits utilizing what they believe are the world's first stretchable optical interconnections. Read More
Israeli artist Liat Segal has created a device that uses light to print fading messages onto photosensitive paper. The Confession Machine uses ultraviolet (UV) LEDs that are programmed to switch on and off at certain intervals in order to print people's confessions onto paper coated with a UV sensitive pigment. Then they disappear. Read More

Ever thought the glowing forests from the movie Avatar were pretty cool and wanted one yourself? Bioglow is the latest company to attempt to put such autoluminscent plants in homes with its aptly named Starlight Avatar. Read More

As the volume of data carried around the world via optical fibers continues to increase, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have found a way to increase data throughput capacity by ten times. Because it is based on changing the shape of light pulses to reduce the space between, the breakthrough would work on existing optical fiber infrastructure. Read More
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