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Machine Prints Lights In Sheets

General Electric in upstate New York has created a trailer-sized machine that prints out OLED light sheets.


(Printing sheets of light)

The size of a semitrailer, it coats an 8-inch (20-centimeter) wide plastic film with chemicals, then seals them with a layer of metal foil. Apply electric current to the resulting sheet, and it lights up with a blue-white glow...

You could tack that sheet to a wall, wrap it around a pillar or even take a translucent version and tape it to your windows. Unlike practically every other source of lighting, you wouldn't need a lamp or conventional fixture for these sheets, though you would need to plug them into an outlet.

The sheets owe their luminance to compounds known as organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs.

This invention reminded me of several science-fictional ideas. For example, consider the illuminum tiles used for illumination in Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon and the video wallpaper from Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky.

Update 13-Mar-2012: See also the wall-lights from Isaac Asimov's 1953 novel Foundation and Empire. End update.

From New machine prints sheets of light; thanks to rob for writing in with the tip on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/14/2008)

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