Plants that glow could illuminate tomorrow's buildings

MIT researchers who developed light-emitting plants are now exploring how the glowing greenery could be integrated into future building designs. In their proof-of-concept demonstration, the scientist packaged luciferase, the enzyme that enables fireflies to glow, into nanoparticles that were then suspended in solution. The plants were immersed in the solution and, through high pressure, the nanoparticles entered tiny pores in the plants' leaves. The plants maintained their glow for several hours and they've since increased the duration. Now, project lead Michael Strano, professor of chemical engineering, is collaborating with MIT architecture professor Sheila Kennedy on possible future applications of the green technology. From MIT News:

“If we treat the development of the plant as we would just another light bulb, that’s the wrong way to go,” Strano (says)....

The team is evaluating a new component to the nanobiotic plants that they call light capacitor particles. The capacitor, in the form of infused nanoparticles in the plant, stores spikes in light generation and “bleeds them out over time,” Strano explains. “Normally the light created in the biochemical reaction can be bright but fades quickly over time. Capacitive particles extend the duration of the generated plant light from hours to potentially days and weeks...."

As the nanobionic plant technology has advanced, the team is also envisioning how people might interact with the plants as part of everyday life. The architectural possibilities of their light-emitting plant will be on display within a new installation, “Plant Properties, a Future Urban Development,” at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York opening May 10.

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Watch fantastic night freeskiers illuminated by fiery flares

Swiss freeskier and filmmaker Nico Vuignier of Centriphone fame, delivers "Heatseeker," an exhilarating night skiing adventure illuminated by fiery shots from a flare gun.

Edited by Nicolas Vuignier & Jules Guarneri; Shot by Jules Guarneri; Riders: Jeremie Heitz, Nicolas Vuignier, Samuel Anthamatten, Laurent DeMartin, Florian Bruchez, Mathieu Schaer

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Watch this short film on the art of making neon signs

This short documentary visits Lite Brite Neon in New York to see how neon lights come to life, with a piece being made from start to finish. Read the rest

Behold this beautiful interactive lighted greenhouse

Digital Vegetables is an installation by PARTY that was part of the 2017 Tokyo Midtown Design Touch event. Read the rest

Cool idea: inflatable LED lighting fixtures

Blow Me Up is an inflatable LED lighting fixture designed by Ingo Maurer and Theo Möller.

From Core77:

I currently have standard fluorescent lighting fixtures as house lighting in my photography studio, and the Blow Me Up is such a vast improvement over those. Consider that those fluorescent fixtures are metal, making them heavy; for safety’s sake they must be hung with chains connected to eye bolts mounted in the ceiling crossbeams, which limits their placement. On top of that the glass fluorescent bulbs are fragile, and anytime the large lighting boom is used in the studio, great care must be taken so as not to strike the fixture and potentially shatter a bulb.

These inflatable lights could be hung anywhere in the studio using string and screws with anchors. If the boom strikes them, there’s no danger of falling glass shards. And they are of course easier to ship and transport than fluorescent bulbs.

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2-pack of battery powered LED string lights with remote

I bought these LED string lights for a friend who has been stringing up little incandescent A/C powered plugs on her backyard terrace. These are much better. They don't get ruined by sprinkler water, and you don't need an extension cord. They have a timer function so you don't drain the battery. Two 20-foot strands (60 LEDs per strand) cost $12. Read the rest

Dimmable Recessed LED lighting to replace incandescent bubs

I've been replacing all the recessed light fixtures in our house with these recessed LED downlights. Amazon has a good deal on a 4-pack right now: $31. Read the rest

Dimmable LED light bulbs - $(removed) for 4

LED light bulbs are now very cheap, but dimmable ones have commanded a premium. Today, Amazon is selling a 4-pack of Cree's 60W equivalent soft white bulbs for just $(removed) I bought them after reading the reviews that stated they don't buzz, which is a problem that a lot of LED bulbs have. Read the rest

4-pack of LED lanterns for $15

Amazon has a good deal on this four-pack of LED lanterns. They take 3 AA batteries and collapse to a compact size. With 350 reviews, they've got an average rating of 4.7/5 stars. Read the rest

Useful magnetic LED clip lights

I bought a pair of these magnetic clip lights a few years and they've proven to be incredibly useful when I have to do repair work. The light has 8 LEDs and it throws a pretty wide beam of bright light. It sticks securely to any ferrous metal surface and has a clip so you can attach it to your pocket. I used it when I was installing a new safety switch in a washing machine. I stuck it on the side of the washing machine cabinet and it gave me plenty of light to attach the ground wire and route the cable. I haven't had to change the batteries yet, either.

I keep one on our fridge and the other in my toolbox.

The price is right, too. A set of 2 costs $(removed) on Amazon.

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This LED flood light is handy and inexpensive

I ordered 2 of these LED flood lights - one for mood lighting in the living room, and another to light up my workbench in the garage. I happy with how they work for both applications.

The unit is small: 4.5 x 2.8 x 3.4 inches. It comes with a bracket that can be screw mounted to a surface. I'm just using a clamp to secure the light for my workbench. And the light in the living room is on the floor, behind a drum. It comes with a remote control that lets you select 16 colors and different brightness levels. I've had the living room floodlight running for a week and it is cool to the touch. It also has special effects: strobe, flash, fade, and smooth.

I'm going to buy a few more of these and install them outdoors (they are waterproof). Read the rest

Phillips wireless dimmer switch - hassle free lighting

We got one of these Phillips Hue ($25 on Amazon) wireless dimmer switches for our bedroom about six months ago and it has not failed us once. It's not an Internet of Things gadget that requires using your smartphone to turn on a light bulb. It's just a wireless switch that you stick to your wall. The little remote can pop out of the frame if you need use it away from the wall, but we just keep it in the frame. It can control up to 10 bulbs at once. Of course, you need to use a compatible Hue bulb (About $15 each). A kit containing the bulb and the switch is $35. Read the rest

LED camping light bulbs

The power went out in our neighborhood for 24 hours earlier this week, but we had a lot of battery-powered LED lights. These bulb-shaped ones are meant from camping, but you can hang them from chandeliers, curtain rods, hooks, etc. (I might make an adapter with my 3D printer so they can screw into bulb sockets.) They use 3 AAA batteries. They're on sale on Amazon: 2 for $8.

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This $(removed) headlamp is very useful for a variety of tasks

If you don't have one of these headlamps, now is your chance, because Amazon has it on sale for $(removed). I use it for barbecuing, walking in our no-street-light neighborhood at night, repairs, and even reading in bed (on the lowest of 3 brightness levels). It's lightweight and comfortable, and comes with 3 AAA batteries. Read the rest

Solar powered string lights for $(removed)

I bought this string of 100 LEDs with a solar charger a couple of years ago to put on our front gate. I set it to blink and it was a nice way for people to find our house at night. But a couple of months ago we had some work done on the gate and the guy severed the wires. So I bought a new one. The solar panel has a built-in battery and I used Sugru to mount it to the gate. It works really well. Amazon has this on sale right now for $(removed). Read the rest

String of 100 LEDs for $11

These LED string lights are an easy way to add outdoor lighting. I just bought my third set. They are cheap - $11 for a 30-foot string of 100 lights. It includes a remote control to adjust the brightness or make the lights blink. They are strung onto what looks like very thin copper wire. At night, you can't really see the wire, just the lights.

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Simple hand-drawn diagrams for improving your photos

Paul Schlemmer recently dug up some popular diagrams he made a while back to show how he lit some nice photos. He shares lots of tips and tricks, like how to use your phone's flashlight to give texture to the background. The drawing style is really fun, too. Read the rest

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