Specialists at the Nanyang Technical University created the compact – and effective – ball which harvests light and slowly follows the movement of the sun – making it ideal solution for use in cities.
Light is collected by a transparent acrylic ball attached to a cable. It is then transmitted from the concentrator to the emitter through optical fibres. Its handling capacity is sufficient to power a small lamp.
The ball, housed in a protective hood, does not move. Only the platform with the light receiver shifts.
Small motors automatically adjust the position of the fibre’s collecting end, to optimise the amount of sunlight that can be received and transported.
The researchers took their inspiration from an ordinary magnifying glass and the opportunity of using it to focus sunlight.
The concentrator stays above ground and acts like the lens of a magnifying glass, focusing and gathering light at the end of a fibre optic cable. The other end of the cable is placed under ground.
The scientists reported that the ball generates more light than a standard LED light bulb and is as efficient as a concentrator working on the basis of large mirrors.
The prototype ball weighs 10 kg and is 50 cm tall.