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Sunlight


— Around The Home

Smart windows can be tuned for privacy, while still letting the light shine through

By - June 10, 2015 9 Pictures

The glass panels that let light into our homes and offices have been seen as huge windows of opportunity for engineers in recent times. If the amount of light pouring through can be managed throughout the day, it could lessen reliance on energy-sapping air conditioner units, for instance. This has led to a number of examples of smart facades that keep interior spaces from overheating, and some that even harvest energy for lights and ventilation. But a new tunable window-tinting technology is claimed to do things the smart glass before it cannot, by allowing users control over brightness, color temperature and opacity.

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— Good Thinking

"Smart" facade keeps offices from overheating, without using any electricity

By - April 10, 2015 1 Picture
Office buildings with plate glass windows may provide a nice view for workers, but they're certainly not ideal when it comes to energy-efficiency. Among other things, the sunlight that pours through them can raise the temperature in the office, causing the air conditioning to come on. Now, however, researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology have created a light-blocking facade for such windows that only kicks in when exposed to strong sunlight – and it's powered by that sunlight, too. Read More
— Environment

Panasonic’s new technology purifies water with sunlight and photocatalysts

By - January 2, 2015 2 Pictures
Drinking clean water is something that many people in the world can't take for granted, as they rely on polluted sources and often have no access to purification systems. In response to that problem, Panasonic is developing a new technology that looks to the sun to clean water extracted from the ground. The company recently presented a system that uses sunlight and photocatalysts to purify polluted water at a high reaction rate, to improve access to clean water where it's needed. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Scientists developing drug that could prevent sun-related aging of skin

By - December 18, 2014 1 Picture
Excessive exposure to sunlight is the leading cause of skin deterioration, causing it to age prematurely. We need some exposure, however, in order to synthesize vitamin D – plus who wants to stay in the shade all the time? Using a good sunscreen definitely helps, although scientists from the University of British Columbia are taking things a step farther – they're developing a drug that could ultimately prevent the sunlight-related aging of skin. Read More
— Environment

Mirror coating to cool buildings by pumping interior heat into space

By - November 26, 2014 2 Pictures
Keeping buildings cool isn't easy. In fact, conventional air conditioning methods are very energy intensive and account for up to 15 percent of the energy used in buildings in the United States alone. However, engineers at Stanford University have come up with a new ultrathin, multilayered, nanophotonic material that not only reflects heat away from buildings, but also directs heat from inside out into space, cooling both the building and the planet as well. Read More
— Space

Rosetta mission progresses to the comet escort phase

By - November 20, 2014 2 Pictures
As Philae begins its long sleep, bedded down on the surface of comet 67P/Churymov–Gerasimenko (67P), mankind's attention shifts back to the Rosetta spacecraft as she begins the next phase of her audacious mission. Over the course of the next year, Rosetta will become the first spacecraft to orbit and observe a comet as it approaches the Sun, allowing the already phenomenally successful mission to detail the evolving characteristics of 67P as the heat from our star causes a dramatic rise in activity. Read More
— Space

Research suggests Jupiter's Great Red Spot is caused by the Sun

By - November 14, 2014 1 Picture
The Great Red Spot is the distinguishing feature that makes Jupiter one of the most easily recognizable planets in our solar system. Until recently, it was widely believed that this blemish was formed as a result of reddish-colored chemicals rising up from within the planet itself. However, using information obtained by analysis of data from the Cassini fly-by mission of Jupiter, researchers working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have discerned that the planet's Great Red Spot may have more to do with the external action of the sun than some internal mechanism. Read More
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