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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This Iowa bridge trail has a remarkable nighttime lighting effect

The High Trestle Trail Bridge in Madrid, Iowa is quite lovely by day, but at night it's even cooler, when a lighting effect makes a bike ride a futuristic journey into a vortex. Read the rest

Watch this cool demonstration of a vintage carbon arc lamp

Tim from Grand Illusions dusted off a decades-old carbon arc lamp to show how it works, and how to create colorful and hypnotic pulsing patterns. Read the rest

Watch a cool kinetic light art installation

true/false is an array of fluorescent tubes covered with movable metal cylinders. The segments are programmed to move in algorithmic patterns, creating a hypnotic effect. Read the rest

L.A. Thanksgiving traffic almost beautiful from a distance

Do not drive anywhere in Los Angeles between the hours of 4 and 7 p.m and within 10 days either side of Thanksgiving. [via B911Weather]

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Great deal on laser landscape projector ($(removed))

I enjoy setting up Christmas lights outside our house during the holidays I've been wanting to get a laser landscape projector for a while. They project sparkling colored dots and your house, trees, and bushes without having to string up lights. The effect is really cool. I just found this good deal on Amazon. If you use code USSR8Q9U, you can get it for $(removed), instead of $(removed) Read the rest

Map of Europe shows the lights coming on and going off, 1993-2003

Often shared as a map of Europe at midnight from the International Space Station (or with some other cosy story) this is actually a composite produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revealing a decade in European economic development and decline.

"Europe at night, showing the change in illumination from 1993-2003. This data is based on satellite observations. Lights are colour-coded. Red lights appeared during that period. Orange and yellow areas are regions of high and low intensity lighting respectively that increased in brightness over the ten years. Grey areas are unchanged. Pale blue and dark blue areas are of low and high intensity lighting that decreased in brightness. Very dark blue areas were present in 1993 and had disappeared by 2003. Much of western and central Europe has brightened considerably. Some North Sea gas fields closed in the period."

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LED cloud lights

The battery-powered LED cloud is handmade in Australia and projects a moon and stars on the ceiling above. Read the rest