In the continued effort to tap renewable sources of energy, a team of researchers at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore have designed and developed a smart device. The device features to trap daylight and transmit it to underground spaces, thus reducing the need to depend on traditional sources of energy for lighting.
In fact, in Singapore, authorities are gauging the possibility to dig deeper underground to create new spaces for storage, infrastructure, and utilities. Consequently, the demand for round-the-clock underground lighting is expected to expand in the future.
Meanwhile, in a bid to develop a device to harvest the daylight, the team of researchers drew inspiration from a magnifying glass, which works to focus sunlight on one point.
To develop the smart device, the team of researchers used an acrylic ball, off-the-shelf one, a single plastic optical fiber, and computer chip-aided motors.
Structurally, the smart device is positioned just above the ground, and akin to the lens of a magnifying glass, the acrylic ball works to concentrate the solar radiation. This arrangement enables parallel rays of sunlight to focus sharply on the opposite side. Thereafter, the focused sunlight is collected into one end of a fiber cable, and transported along it to the end deployed underground. This allows light to be emitted directly via the end of the fiber cable.
At the same time, small motors adjust the position of the collecting end of the fiber automatically, in order to optimize the amount of sunlight that can be received and transmitted as the sun changes course across the sky.