Urgent Evoke

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ScienceFiction? Free Natural Household Lighting, EXPERTS WANTED!!

I hate long blog posts so I will get straight to the point in hopes you read and comment on it.

My idea is this: a Verticle Cylindrical Light Prism. (for people unfamiliar with prisms, they recieve light at one end and effectively disperse and radiate it throughout the entire prism, is that accurate?)

It would run from the outside top of a house to the basement of your house exposed 360* and would probably have a 2-3 ft diameter. I was thinking it would also need some mirrors to help concentrate light at the top end of the prism and some more at the base to increase dispersed light at the bottom level of the home.

Is this a tangible, viable idea? I want to hear what people think, especially if you have any expertise in optics, engineering or any other related field. I know nothing about this, but the idea has remained with me. I hope to inspire other agents and to encourage them to think outside of the box!

What are the material/production costs?

How much light would be produced throughout the column?

Is cylindrical the best type of prism for the job?

What could improve my design? What's wrong with it?

What questions aren't I asking?

Views: 31

Comment by Massive Attack on March 29, 2010 at 12:54am
Wow. That's a good idea, ill put it on my list 9f
Things to research & relate what I find
Comment by Eric Koziol on March 29, 2010 at 1:05am

The prism doesn't actually create light or energy for that matter. It just filters visible white light into its separate wave lengths. So instead of all this energy in one bundle you have 7 smaller energy bundles. What is the point of the prism? To heat a house? To provide more natural lighting? If you want to concentrate energy at a point you can look at what solar power towers are doing, effectively focusing all the light in a given area to a single point to provide a heat source turning a liquid into gas for electrical generation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_tower

For natural lighting, it might be plausible but there are already many architectural techniques that can increase the amount of light in rooms, merely by how you angle windows. Also the Milwaukee Art Museum has what essentially are moving roof walls that keep the amount of shade constant over pieces so they don't get extra UV exposure. A similar concept could be used to maximize light entry.

In terms of cost, a normal prism is $7.95 (http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-Acrylic-Equilateral-Prism/...) and that's 4" long and say 1" wide (triangular area =0.5 in^2). For 2 foot diameter you would need 24"*24"/2=288in^2. Then divide by 0.5 for amount of prisms =576 prisms. That's just for a 4" depth. in a two story house with basement you're looking at about 40-50 feet long prism. So that's 600" (50'). 600"/4"=150 prisms deep. So all together you would need 150*576=86400 of these tiny prisms. But those prisms are probably severely marked up. Probably takes 25-50 cents to make. So you're looking at 20-45 grand for a giant prism. Do you agree? Disagree?
Comment by Eric Koziol on March 29, 2010 at 1:17am
Also, if you're adding mirrors to concentrate light you could use a smaller diameter prism. But that could make really bright light. Might need the optical equivalent of a transformer to disperse or bring the light down to manageable levels.
Comment by Zaszo on March 29, 2010 at 3:11am
I'm not sure its called prism then... but a cylindar will light up when light is introduced at one end without separating the light into it's wavelengths, I believe. I'm not sure what material (if there is a specific one) that it would have to be made out of. Definitely not an archetypal prism, just my lack for better description...
Comment by Eric Koziol on March 29, 2010 at 3:22am
Could you post a quick sketch of what you're thinking?
Comment by Daniel Clarke on March 29, 2010 at 4:43am
Fibre-optic cables use internal refraction instead of mirrors. That reduces (eliminates?) lost light over distance.
The main cleverness is to have less optical density for the glass at the centre increasing to the edge
Comment by Megiddo Tell on March 29, 2010 at 6:49pm
Prisms have been used for lighting for some time now. The old sail warships had prisms mounted in the decks directly over the powder magazines. Daniel has the right idea--Fibre optics.

Megiddo- makers guild
Comment by Zaszo on March 29, 2010 at 9:54pm
So could my idea be replaced with a ginormous fiber optic and light fixtures?
(at least we have a sweet disco ball setup coming from all of this +1)
Comment by Daniel Clarke on March 30, 2010 at 12:07am
Or, more cheaply, a bundle of fibers.
I thought I remembered a TED Talk about new building materials that funneled light around but I couldn't find it.
I did find the worst website in history - http://www.fiberopticproducts.com/
Comment by Aditya on April 4, 2010 at 8:00pm
I'd suggest a window somewhere likely to get a lot of light. You could then use a lens to focus the light into a series of fiber optic cables. At the bottom end of each bundle of cable, you'd have a light source.

Fiber optic cable prices (for illumination) can be found here:


You'd also have to add in the price for a window, lens, and the construction work you'd have to do, but it's hard to estimate that without knowing the exact installation. As a rough guess, I'd say you'd probably be looking at something around $1000, not including the fiber itself, for a decent-sized house.


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