News from Vu1 – Progress!

Remember the Vu1 lamp?  The lamp that uses ESL, or electron-stimulated luminescence technology to create light?  There’s been some news about it lately that is noteworthy – and they posted a video about the product.

Vu1, which changed over its name from the Telegen Corporation in May 2008, has been working pretty hard on this product from what I understand.  I’ve been watching their stock as of late, looking for information on how the lamp was progressing.  Funny enough, here comes this bit of news.  Who knew?

Right now, Vu1 is still working on development on putting this technology into play.  From the Vu1 blog:

“Demonstrating our technology’s ability to function as a stand-alone bulb is an important step as we move into the next key phase – miniaturization of the electronics in preparation for pilot production,” said R. Gale Sellers, CEO of Vu1. “We are now focused on transitioning our initial bulb design toward a market-ready product so consumers don’t have to compromise on safety, energy efficiency or light quality when choosing their light bulbs.”

Check out this video of Vu1’s ESL lamp:

Okay, interesting!  Now, if you remember correctly, there are a couple of things to know about the ESL lamp:

  • it’s rated at about 6,000 operating hours (near a CFL’s operating hours)
  • I am making a guess here – but I think the cost is going to be between $25 and $35 per lamp
    (which is around 5 times less expensive than a recessed mount LED lamp)
  • ESL lamps are made in the Czech Republic
  • ESL lamps have a very similar spectral distribution to those of an incandescent lamp
  • ESL lamps will have a power factor of greater than 0.93
  • zero Mercury, unlike CFLs
  • smooth dimming and fading, no burps or stutters

I am trying to get my hands on a spectral distribution diagram for the ESL lamp – as soon as I get it, I’ll post it.

If you follow lighting stocks like me, Vu1 is under VUOC on Google Finance.

Boeing’s Advanced Tactical Laser Shoots Cars in the Hood

The HOOD, not the ‘hood.  The government would never go into the ‘hood and light up cars with a drone mounted laser.  Right?

So, as of June, the Boeing Corporation had been testing its new 25kW thin-disk laser system, which is apparently “weapons-grade” now.  From the press release at Boeing:

“Solid-state lasers will revolutionize the battlefield by giving the warfighter an ultra-precision engagement capability that can dramatically reduce collateral damage,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. “These successful tests show that Boeing has made solid progress toward making this revolutionary capability a reality.”

The thin-disk laser is an initiative to demonstrate that solid-state laser technologies are now ready to move out of the laboratory and into full development as weapon systems. Solid-state lasers are powered by electricity, making them highly mobile and supportable on the battlefield. The Boeing laser represents the most electrically efficient solid-state laser technology known. The system is designed to meet the rapid-fire, rapid-retargeting requirements of area-defense, anti-missile and anti-mortar tactical high-energy laser systems. It is also ideal for non-lethal, ultra-precision strike missions urgently needed by warfighters in war zones.

This is what you’re about to see – the laser in action from an actual C-130 Hercules:

This video shows the effect of the high-energy laser beam from the Boeing Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), fired at a stationary truck from a US Air Force NC-130H flying over White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, on August 30, 2009. The ATL is a chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL), and is a scaled-down version of the megawatt-class high-energy laser in the Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser (ABL). ABL and ATL are both technology demonstration programs.

This is an actual flyby.  This laser is mounted on an actual plane.  This car’s hood is actually getting a hole burned in it.

A couple of questions come to mind here:

  • Why is Boeing still trying to develop the COIL laser technology?  This is the same technology that requires lots of deadly chemicals, lasts for a few seconds, and then burns out?  It’s the equivalent of dropping a bomb – once the payload (the chemicals in this case) are used up, the plane must reload.  Aren’t there solid state alternatives that can me researched to make a multi-shot laser technology?  I would think that, since we’re not using this energy and time to develop something that could actually cure cancer or AIDS or something of the like, shouldn’t it at least be as efficient as possible?
  • Why aren’t we directing this research money into curing cancer or AIDS?

Well, I’ll never know.  I guess I am just that naive.  You could say I’m a dreamer.

Thanks, Geekologie!



Hitachi has started producing what they call SPD technology – “suspended particle device” technology – is in fact one of the coolest things I have ever seen.  Okay, imagine this – a film that can be added to windows and other light transmitting surfaces that allows light to be transmitted when voltage is applied to the film.  You’d be imagining Hitachi’s new film product.

When this product is in its voltageless state, it is a deep blue – as voltage is applied, it becomes clear.  The concept is pretty beautiful, and perhaps even sexy in practice.  The product has a matrix of electrically reactive particles that are oriented in such a way that when voltage is applied they allow light to pass through them easily, and when they have no voltage, they are not oriented and appear deep blue.  The concept is like an electrochemical set of louver doors in a way – here’s a technical explanation:


The new film consists of two polyethylene terephthalate (PET) films coated with a transparent conductive layer and matrix resin dispersed with microcapsules that contain oriented particles. And the matrix resin is sandwiched by the PET films.

When voltage is not being applied, the particles are not oriented and their color is navy blue, thus shielding light. When alternating voltage is applied to the oriented particles, the particles become oriented and transparent.

Pretty sweet, right?  Can you imagine about eleventy quadrillion uses for this already?  Something else that might rock to know is that the film consumes about 1 watt per square meter – not bad.  Could probably improve, especially when you consider covering a skyscraper in this stuff!

Thanks, TechON!