Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fun With Alternative Energy

Okay, this could be a lot of fun:

A thin film of plastic which conducts electricity and produces solar power could be the basis for a revolution in the way we light our homes and design clothes.

They're talking about OLEDs here--organic light emitting devices. How you ask, could that possibly be fun?
Because the devices are thin and flexible, lighting and electronic display screens could for the first time be created on almost any material, so that clothes and packaging can display electronic information.

What's not fun about that? Not enough information yet? Need some examples?

The devices' uses could vary from lighting that is many times more efficient than current bulbs to clothes whose colour can be changed at will and beer cans that display the latest football results.

Fun enough for you? So how is that possible?

The devices exploit a discovery made around 15 years ago that some polymers have the unusual property of either turning electricity into light, or light into electricity, depending on how the devices are made.

Are there cool and practical uses for this technology--amazing things like an alternative energy source that can be rolled up and carried along on a mountain trek, windows that double as lights at night, and electronic clothing for emergency personnel that can have updatable messages written across them in glowing letters? Yep. Wouldn't such clothing be fun at parties? Again, yep, but none of this stuff is really ready yet. Research happens.

Want to read more?

Science Daily

Have fun.

Hat tip: Futurismic