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June 7, 2012

Future Tech: Light Fantastic

This week at Nokia Connects the Future Tech series we look at light and all it can do in terms of being…fantastic.

As you can see from the graphic, light can be used in many new and emerging technologies (as well as a couple already with us) to achieve so much. It can power everything from planes to bus shelters, it can carry a WiFi signal, fix eyes with a concentrated beam and be used to create music.

via Mused

The picture above is the Solar Impulse Plane. One day it will fly round the world non-stop, but for now, short hops are the key. It doesn’t use any fuel except the sun that powers its four electric motors, and it’s a single-seater. There’ll be no passengers yet, but it sends a message to the future – ‘This can be done!’ Unfortunately, flying through clouds is an issue, but flying at night isn’t, so it’s a step in the right direction and to be roundly applauded. Travelling at 70kmh, it won’t be breaking any speed records either, but again…it doesn’t use any fuel.

Solar panels can also be used to power a bunch of random items from street furniture like bus stops and road signs, to gadgets such as laptops and cell phones.

As we’ve seen in a previous edition of Future Tech light is multifaceted, even being able to carry a WiFi signal (flickering faster than the human eye can detect, it can beam the zeros and ones needed to run a full office WiFi hub). When street light bulbs are replaced they can make any street a WiFi zone – add a solar panel, and natural light can partner with artificial to provide a self-powered connected net.

via SmartPlanet

How about other practical uses for light? Well, in a concentrated beam (a laser, we all know about lasers from our science fiction addiction….just me?) light can be used to fix problems from malformed retinas (fixing your sight problems) to unwanted hair and spots. Green light surgery can also be used to blast enlarged prostates, but I think we’re a long way from robots carrying out arm-saving operations. (Of course, the light from the sun unfortunately has its detrimental effects).

via Gattfly’s Nest

Light, too, can be used for more cultural purposes. A harp with lasers for strings is one of many light-powered musical instruments and there’s an excellent exhibition by artist Sungdae Kim that shows light and the earth’s delicate relationship.

So how do you see light (natural or artificial) being used in the future? Got any ground-breaking ideas? Let us know in the comments, or drop us a line @Nokia_Connects.