by Mike Chino
One of fifty top entries in this year's Greener Gadgets Design Competition, Vincent Gerkens' Blight offers a brilliant twist on staid venetian blinds. Rather than serving simply to block the sun's rays, the design re-envisions blinds as sun-soaking solar panels that store energy during the day and illuminate your interiors at night.
Named after a combination of the words blind and light , Blight creates a seamless link between the indoors and the outdoors, storing sunlight during the day and giving it back at night. The smart design takes advantage of the large surface area of extended venetian blinds by lining each panel with flexible solar cells. Once night falls, stored energy is transfered to a layer of electroluminescent foil, which provides energy-efficient light.
Gerkens states: With Blight we have not produced a new object; we have just created the design of an everlasting product: the Venetian blind. We use all the current functions of this object and add a little technology to give it a new function - to catch solar energy and convert it into electricity.