In order to get sunlight into the home, one has to simply open the curtains, but what about parts of a room that aren't near a window? That's where the Light Bandit comes into play. It captures the sunlight from a window and allows you to use that light on the other side of a room.
Basically, Light Bandit is a box that a user places on a window sill or hangs from the window, that captures sunlight. From there, it uses optical fibers to transfer the light to specially-designed fixtures.
According to Think Tekk, the creators of Light Bandit, the device loses about 1 percent of the captured light over each foot that it travels, so it recommends users keep light fixtures within 30 feet (9 m) of the device itself. Of course, this also means that one could use it farther away, but the light is going to be quite a bit dimmer, and as such, may not be very useful.
For now, the team has developed focused task lighting, plant lighting, and aquarium lighting fixtures, and it promises that it is working with partners to bring all kinds of other fiber-compatible light fixtures to the market. Users can also get a DIY kit to build their own light fixtures that will work with the Light Bandit system.
So how does it actually work? 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.
A key thing to mention is that because the device reroutes sunlight, it doesn't work at night. It's not actually storing the sunlight for later use, so if there's no sunlight to transfer, then it can't be used. This won't replace your existing lights, but rather, it will serve as a supplement during the day.
Think Tekk is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. The team started with a US$200,000 goal, and it still has a long way to go before meeting it. Backers interested in pre-ordering a full kit that includes a Light Bandit, 20 feet (6 m) of fiber, and a lamp can do so for a pledge of $299 while the early special lasts. From there, the price jumps to $349. The team intends to deliver in November 2015.
More information is available in the pitch video below.
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