We've long heard how OLEDs (organic light emitting diodes) are poised to change the home electronics market thanks to their energy efficiency, but what about large-scale applications like lighting up urban buildings and façades?
UrbanTiles, created by Israeli designer Meidad Marzan, offers a glimpse into how OLEDs could potentially light up our cityscapes, in the form of two-sided, reversible tiles that have photovoltaics on one side which collect sun energy during the day, and on the flip side, OLEDs which shine using that power at night. Assembled on a surface, this checkerboard of light-collecting and light-emitting tiles could change how our cities are lit at night. Check out this video showing how OLED-skinned buildings could look like:
UrbanTiles are also meant to be interactive, giving citydwellers the possibility of changing the configuration of which tiles are light, creating urban canvases of light. Says Marzan:
The city and its buildings are epic light objects that emit light energy as far as the outer space. That, while in daytime the city absorbs great sun energy not being used at all. The cycle of light and lighting in the urban space made a design intervention, that along with other urban values, stood in the basis of this project.
Though the flexibility, brightness, thinness and low energy consumption of OLEDs make them a prime candidate for replacing other technologies, the only current obstacle is their high price. But green designers are envisioning them everywhere -- from cellphones, monitors, laptops, games, to even clothing and wallpaper. And earlier this summer, Mitsubishi created a visually-impressive 20-foot OLED globe at a Tokyo museum using 10,362 panels -- so it may be a matter of time before you may see it on a building near you.
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