This innovative solar lighting technology “would change the equation for energy,” according to University of Cincinnati researchers — and also change how building interiors are brightened in the near future.
Using tiny electrofluidic cells and a series of open-air “ducts,” researchers have figured out how to direct light from the sun to naturally illuminate windowless work spaces deep inside office buildings. Plus the excess energy can be harnessed, stored and redirected to other applications – how cool!
“The SmartLight technology would be groundbreaking. It would be game changing,” says Harfmann, an associate professor in UC’s School of Architecture and Interior Design. “This would change the equation for energy. It would change the way buildings are designed and renovated. It would change the way we would use energy and deal with the reality of the sun. It has all sorts of benefits and implications that I don’t think we’ve even begun to touch.”
The rendering on the left depicts how an office might appear with SmartLight off (above) and on (below). Sunlight is directed to different spaces, including to a “SmartTrackLight” in the outer hallway. (ref)
Interdisciplinary research collaboration between University of Cincinnati’s Anton Harfmann and Jason Heikenfeld.