For those of us who are deep in the dark of winter, this is a great time to think about bringing sunlight into our homes. The Light Bandit allows sunlight to be directed fiber-optically to any room in the house – even one with no windows!
Like the luminous ceiling we covered back in 2010, the Light Bandit is a box that is placed or mounted in a window or skylight. Fiber optic cable is run from the box to the desired location. Through the cable, sunlight is delivered to specialized fixtures that brighten the darkest of rooms.
The Science Behind the Light Bandit
To start, the Fresnel mirror on the front of the device has a special pattern etched onto it that diverts half of the incoming sunlight directly into the fiber optic cable, while focusing the other half onto the mirror array below the Fresnel. A light sensor in that array detects the angle at which the light is hitting it, and activates two battery-powered motors to change the angle of its mirrors, allowing them to track the sun as it moves across the sky. Half of the light striking the array via the Fresnel is subsequently reflected back up into the Fresnel, which focuses it into the fiber optic cable. From there, the light is moved through the fiber to whatever light fixture one is using.
The choice of specialized fixtures currently includes task lighting, aquarium lighting, and plant lighting. DIYers can also order a kit to make their own fixtures. Plans are in the works for other fixtures.
It is important to note that the Light Bandit does not capture sunlight for use later, it only projects the sunlight that it receives. So, the box will not work when the sun is not out. Also, there is a loss of brightness as the light travels through the cable. About 1 percent of the light is lost for every foot traveled, so it is recommended that fixtures be no more than 30 feet away from the source.
For now, the concept is in a fundraising phase, with initial deliveries expected to begin in November 2015.
Source | Photo: Light Bandit, via Gizmag.