March 13, 2009 Blinds are handy things. They give us privacy at night and block the sun’s rays during the day. But what if there was a way to capture the light from the day and give it back at night to illuminate the house? That’s the thinking behind Vincent Gerkens’ concept design which takes a Venetian blind and combines it with flexible solar cells and electroluminescent foil to produce the ‘Blight’ – that’s short for ‘Blind Light’, but I’d be tempted to give the name some more thought if I were Vincent given the images of pestilence and decay the word evokes. The Blight captures solar energy during the day and uses it to power the electroluminescent foil covering the blinds to produce light at night.

The designers chose Venetian blinds so that the revolving blades could follow the course of the sun in order to catch a maximum of energy throughout the day. Altering the position of the blinds at night could also produce different lighting effects. If any energy was left over it could be used to power other devices by means of an inverter. Although obviously just a concept, the Blight probably wouldn’t be economically viable for some time with the high cost of electroluminescent foil alone making the blinds very expensive. But once technology advances and prices of components used in the device come down we might find ourselves saying, “Hey, turn down the Blight, I’m trying to sleep!” – but hopefully they manage to come up with a better name between now and then.

Darren Quick

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