September 1, 2009 is A Brand New Day…


Big stuff tomorrow, September 1, 2009 – will be celebrating, singing, and dancing all day long.  Make sure you don’t miss it!  Tell your friends!

What? “Alien” Light from Büro für Form

I am really curious as to what planet this Alien light comes from – the Alien Light from Büro für Form looks suspiciously like a sperm.  It’s certainly a statement – the fixture is wrapped around the power cable as if it were descending downward (or upward?) in all of its curly protozoa goodness.  The Alien fixture is currently retailing at $529 US (say whaaaaat?), and is part of the NEXT Home Collection.






Thanks, Generate!

POLL: How Do Readers Feel About Healthcare Reform?


I’ve been following healthcare reform in the United States for the last few months, and no matter what happens, it affects those of us in the lighting industry just like everyone else.  There are pros and cons both ways – many of my friends and colleagues in the industries that work freelance have self-insurance, which stands to take a hit also either way.

I am conducting a plain ol’ poll to find out how people feel about health care in the United States.  Do you think we need to reform the process, or should we leave it alone?  Please vote, no matter where you are!

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Paperclip Lamp – An Icon That Microsoft Tried to Kill


Ha, I kid.  We Windows users loooove that freaking little paperclip, don’t we…

David Wykes and Benoît Colette have produced the Paperclip Lamp – a design that takes the ol’ humble paperclip and turns it into something we don’t rush to click off with our mouse whenever we open Microsoft products.  The Paperclip Lamp is LED sourced, and works on the concept that people like me pick up paperclips and bent the bejeebus out of them without thinking.

Well, that might be stretching the truth a bit – about the concept part.  It’s totally true about every time I pick up a paperclip I mangle it into something otherworldly.






Thanks, Fubiz!

I Guess We’re Going to Spend $3 Mil On OLEDs for Military Equipment

A company called eMagin has gotten more millions to work on some OLED technology.  It’s not going into illumination for buildings, medical technology, or anything like that – it’s going to make some new night vision goggles for the military.  Oh well, I guess we’ll advance the OLED technology somehow.  We borrow all kinds of technology from the military, so I suppose getting OLED research kicking by pouring cash into military spending is better than not spending the money on OLEDs at all, right?


Here’s a press release from Mid-Hudson News on the story:

WASHINGTON — Congressman John Hall says the House approved of $3 million in additional funding for development of next-generation night vision goggles for American troops.  The money has been placed in the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill, which now must win Senate approval.

The technology is being developed by eMagin Corporation in the IBM East Fishkill campus.

The project has previously received $2.4 million, which Hall secured in 2007.

eMagin Corporation will use the federal money to continue to develop Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology, towards the goal of a more powerful OLED micro-display device to replace currently used night vision goggles that require bulky equipment.

“eMagin is developing technology that will provide radically better night vision equipment for our troops. This is cutting-edge defense technology that will be made right here in the Hudson Valley,” said Hall. “Continuing federal assistance to this project will provide lifesaving new equipment to our troops overseas, while helping create and maintain high tech jobs in the region.”

Is there any way to create some high tech jobs in the region in something other than military technology? Anyone?  Congressman Hall, just out of curiosity, do you stand to benefit from this at all, besides your district getting some gigs?  I’m just curious.  I mean, besides – politics is always about the people, right?

Thanks for the heads up on this, OLED-Info.

The Spaser – The World’s Smallest Laser

SPASER nanolaser

Scientists in Indiana (at Purdue University) have created the Spaser – a nanolaser that is the smallest of its kind, ever.  The press release from Purdue University is below – please check it out!  This technology could revolutionize many dervices, including computing.  Check it out:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.: Researchers have created the tiniest laser since its invention nearly 50 years ago, paving the way for a host of innovations, including superfast computers that use light instead of electrons to process information, advanced sensors and imaging.

Because the new device, called a “spaser,” is the first of its kind to emit visible light, it represents a critical component for possible future technologies based on “nanophotonic” circuitry, said Vladimir Shalaev, the Robert and Anne Burnett Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University.

Such circuits will require a laser-light source, but current lasers can’t be made small enough to integrate them into electronic chips. Now researchers have overcome this obstacle, harnessing clouds of electrons called “surface plasmons,” instead of the photons that make up light, to create the tiny spasers.

Findings are detailed in a paper appearing online in the journal Nature that reports on work conducted by researchers at Purdue, Norfolk State University and Cornell University.

Nanophotonics may usher in a host of radical advances, including powerful “hyperlenses” resulting in sensors and microscopes 10 times more powerful than today’s and able to see objects as small as DNA; computers and consumer electronics that use light instead of electronic signals to process information; and more efficient solar collectors.

“Here, we have demonstrated the feasibility of the most critical component – the nanolaser – essential for nanophotonics to become a practical technology,” Shalaev said.

The “spaser-based nanolasers” created in the research were spheres 44 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, in diameter – more than 1 million could fit inside a red blood cell. The spheres were fabricated at Cornell, with Norfolk State and Purdue performing the optical characterization needed to determine whether the devices behave as lasers.

The findings confirm work by physicists David Bergman at Tel Aviv University and Mark Stockman at Georgia State University, who first proposed the spaser concept in 2003.

“This work represents an important milestone that may prove to be the start of a revolution in nanophotonics, with applications in imaging and sensing at a scale that is much smaller than the wavelength of visible light,” said Timothy D. Sands, the Mary Jo and Robert L. Kirk Director of the Birck Nanotechnology Center in Purdue’s Discovery Park.

The spasers contain a gold core surrounded by a glasslike shell filled with green dye. When a light was shined on the spheres, plasmons generated by the gold core were amplified by the dye. The plasmons were then converted to photons of visible light, which was emitted as a laser.

Spaser stands for surface plasmon amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. To act like lasers, they require a “feedback system” that causes the surface plasmons to oscillate back and forth so that they gain power and can be emitted as light. Conventional lasers are limited in how small they can be made because this feedback component for photons, called an optical resonator, must be at least half the size of the wavelength of laser light.

The researchers, however, have overcome this hurdle by using not photons but surface plasmons, which enabled them to create a resonator 44 nanometers in diameter, or less than one-tenth the size of the 530-nanometer wavelength emitted by the spaser.

“It’s fitting that we have realized a breakthrough in laser technology as we are getting ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser,” Shalaev said.

The first working laser was demonstrated in 1960.

The research was conducted by Norfolk State researchers Mikhail A. Noginov, Guohua Zhu and Akeisha M. Belgrave; Purdue researchers Reuben M. Bakker, Shalaev and Evgenii E. Narimanov; and Cornell researchers Samantha Stout, Erik Herz, Teeraporn Suteewong and Ulrich B. Wiesner.

Future work may involve creating a spaser-based nanolaser that uses an electrical source instead of a light source, which would make them more practical for computer and electronics applications.

The work was funded by the National Science Foundation and U.S. Army Research Office and is affiliated with the Birck Nanotechnology Center, the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State, and Cornell’s Materials Science and Engineering Department.

Thanks, Medgadget!

Thien Nguyen’s Flexy Light

Thien Nguyen, a designer out of UQAM in Montreal, has created the Flexy Light – a fixture that uses folded heavy paper as the shade/diffuser source.  The packaging itself uses a little waste (the label band that runs along the outside), but once that is removed, the shade can be spread open into whatever configuration you’d like to attempt.  The shade itself is just folded, I can’t stress that enough – no inner structure to hold it open, just the strength of the complex folding of the paper material.

An interesting design!  Thien won an award this year for this design – the Young Package Design 2009 Contest in the Czech Republic.  Congratulations, Thien!





Thanks, DesignBoom!

Solar Shower – Well, That’s Hot!


Have you ever had one of those camping showers?  I used to have one that held about five gallons – it was a black plastic bag that got hung in the sun, and it was generally pretty lame.  The handle was too stretchy, the bag got so freaking hot that you would just scald yourself when you went to discharge the water, and it was dependent on how much water was left in the bag for water pressure.  Like I said, generally lame.

My goal is to have all solar powered camping gear to have no impact on the environment, with the exception of the zillion-degree campfire that my buddies and I always make.  Fire, good.

A company called Herrington has a product that uses the same solar water heating concept – it might be a bit much for camping (as it’s two hundred bucks) but as far as concept goes, it’s pretty great.  The Solar Power Shower allows you to hook up the garden hose to it and fill up the base, giving you two hours until 140 degree water.  Use the tap on the shower to mix some garden hose water with the hot water, and mix a warm shower.  Where can you use this?  Well, anywhere you want.  I would still probably take it camping.

PS:  I didn’t have any pictures of dudes using the shower, sorry ladies.  I would have taken one of those “look how hot I am” shower pictures myself, but I wanted people to like the article.

Thanks, DVICE!

Get Ready for September 1 at


Tuesday, September 1, 2009 is a pretty special day at  Make sure that you check us out that day!

Whoa! 1979 Video On Electrical Substation Safety

For the life of me, I cannot figure out where I found this link, but I just came across a video from a UK public service announcement on children playing around electrical service substations.  Talk about dramatic, and freaky!  But seriously kids, stay out of these places, you’ll die.

Check out the video:

What did we learn?  Electrical substation complexes are monsters that eat children.