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Boffins claim 'revolution' as they bring sunlight inside

Scientists in Austria claim to have discovered a revolutionary solar technology that captures sunlight and channels it into buildings to light interiors.

The prototype is currently being tested at the House of Research in Vienna, and is successfully providing light for the building's inhabitants.

The new technology works by trapping sunlight in a heliostat that sits on the top of the newly-built House of Research. The system transmits the light into fibre-optic cables.

The cables then transport the sunlight directly into the interior of the building, where the light re-emerges at the tip of each cable as 'cold sunlight', which according to the scientists can be both seen and touched.

The transmission of light is instant, but as yet the fibre-optic cables are incapable of storing the sunlight. This results in the light at the tip of the cables weakening should a cloud pass in front of the sun.

Nevertheless, the scientists are confident that with more research a better fibre-optic cable will offer ways to store the light.

It is hoped this new technology could offer a completely new and 'green' alternative to lighting buildings, which could 'revolutionise lighting and infrastructure in buildings'.

by Richard Vaughan

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