Marzan’s Luminescent Future Cityscapes With Solar OLEDs

Israeli inventor Meidad Marzan has a vision of solar-powered futuristic city lights

Solar power embedded in tiny tiles cladding the sides of skyscrapers could be used to efficiently power programmable light-scapes like lamps creating ever-changing patterns on buildings at virtually no energy cost, using the nascent technology of OLEDs, suggests Marzan.

“The city and its buildings are epic light objects that emit light energy as far as the outer space”, says inventor Marzan. “That, while in daytime the city absorbs great sun energy not being used at all. The cycle of light and lighting in the urban space made a design intervention, that along with other urban values, stood [as] the basis of this project”.

The reversible tiles would have organic photovoltaic cells on one side to collect energy during the day, and the other side features an OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting panel.

Millions of tiny OLED tiles create changing images using light by flipping into an on or off position, as seen below. When the dark side faces out, it creates the dark area in an image, when the light emitting side faces out, it forms part of an pattern created in light.

OLEDs are super thin films of organic molecules coated on plastics, that are able to give off light when electricity is applied. Even when the electricity supplied is traditional, OLEDs are such energy misers that they are the the most futuristic of the greenest of green tech. They are beginning to be used in advanced consumer electronics to make more energy-efficient and brighter displays using almost no energy, as they are brighter even than LEDs – with their piercingly brilliant light.

But Marzan proposes to take them one step further and use solar to power the tiny flipping tiles, and clad buildings with them, in order to create luminous displays on the sides of skyscrapers.

As with any new technology, there are problems with the skyscraper plan he’ll need to work on. So far, OLEDs are quite fragile.Water can damage them. They also do not yet last as long as the cladding for most buildings. Blue OLEDs for example last only about 14,000 hours.

But the technology is just in its infancy – and growing fast with exciting new milestones announced almost daily. When it’s ready, Marzan will be too.

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