glass block lights
A press release came in the mail today about a glass block with LED lighting embedded in it. It is from Arizona, and the brochure stresses that the inventor is Harold P Kopp, Blind Veteran, USN Retired. The website is even more curious: the back story of Kopp's various bouts with illness appears to be as important as product information. It is certainly more important than spelling. Whatever, the lights have a life of 50,000 hours and are laid in with regular brick or block paving. The brochure appears to come from some other century altogether. Is this one man working away in his garage, inventing clever electrical devices and then running off product information on his printer and mailing them at some expense to architecture magazines all over the continent? It appears so.
It is a bit like the cat's eyes story where Percy Shaw laboured away in near-destitution for 5 years during the depression before someone in the Ministry of Transport recognised that with the blackout conditions in WWII in England, some sort of low-level road lighting system such as reflective marbles embedded in the road would be of some use.
The cost of the Tuff Block Light is prohibitive: $US 80 each, plus all the wiring laid down the side of your driveway, or patio or sidewalk. To get something like this to take off it would need a large government contract attached to some sort of safety bylaw, then when it was in production in a mass-market sort of way, one could start to do some quite nice things with these blocks. On second thought, I'll wait for one with photovoltaic cells. On third thought, I'll just use a hand crank flashlight. No. On fourth thought, I'll just eat more carrots and develop my night vision.