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Sunlight-Collecting Mirrors for Urban Apartments

A system of mirrors mounted in the narrow passage between urban apartments to deflect sunlight into rooms.
  [vote for,

Since I live in a "changing neighborhood" in Chicago the empty lot next to me is getting a huge cinderblock condominium built right out to the property lines and by the end of the summer my south-facing livingroom window is going to face a blank expanse of concrete 50-feet high. I half-jokingly thought that I should get some wide angle side-view mirrors for trucks and mount them to my outside walls, one pointing east down the 3-foot corridor between buildings, and one pointing west, so I could aim a little sunlight into my windows.
This seems like a workable idea for a consumer product - some mirrors on brackets (maybe one array mounted on the roof like a periscope, and another mounted on the outer side wall of a building) w/ a simple solar-powered heliotropic alignment system which would track the sun and aim sunlight into the side windows of apartments that are otherwise in the shadows of the neighboring buildings.
feedmewithyourkids, Jul 07 2003

(?) Solatube http://www.solatube...eral_howitworks.htm
Such a good idea. Must be baked. [bungston, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

(?) Hong Kong Bank Building http://www.hsbc.com.hk/hk/about/head.htm
Same but on a massive scale [FloridaManatee, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Hong Kong Bank Building http://www.city.yok...ers/hongkong-e.html
Pictures [FloridaManatee, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]


       Very nice. Rather than have a periscope tube, just have circular mirrors on spindly arms, so it looks like the building is full of giant dentists' mirrors.
my face your, Jul 07 2003

       Potential Danger: Birds or other critters getting caught at the focal points of one of these mirror arrays and getting fried. Potential Snafu: enterprising bums stealing the mirrors in the middle of the night to sell them as scrap. I've had aluminum siding stolen off my garage so I wouldn't put it past them.
feedmewithyourkids, Jul 07 2003

       Heeyyyy, this could kill pigeons! Megacroissant.
(Incidentally, [...yourkids], you can make single line breaks by using the HTML code < b r > onlywithoutthespaces.)
my face your, Jul 07 2003

       That Solatube is pretty much the same concept, just a little different implementation (inside the building to the ceiling, instead of on the outer walls to the windows.) I could just lean a full-length mirror out my window so it touches the wall opposite. Then I can look at the clouds from my couch.
feedmewithyourkids, Jul 07 2003

       Then the bums on the roof can watch your indoor life.
FarmerJohn, Jul 08 2003

       It's been done on a massive scale. Personally, I think the house idea is cool. It's not the same as a solar tube because it uses the gap between houses as an effective light well. If you could capture the light shining on a large portion of the roof, it'd work really well.
FloridaManatee, Jul 08 2003

       Now that I think of it, Frank Lloyd wright did something similar w/ the Johnson Wax building in the 1940's - he used glass tubes to pipe sunlight into the interior offices of the building.
feedmewithyourkids, Jul 08 2003

       If I remember right, there was some plan by the Russian government to launch a satellite - essentially a huge, space-bourne mirror - that would shine sunlight into entire Siberian towns. Seems like the fully-baked-with-peoples'-government-support version.
joemadeus, Jul 08 2003

       [feedmewithyourkids] I don't think it'd be the focal points one would be worried about. Rather, it'd be any sort of reflected light that one could direct onto the street or across the way. I'd be a scourge to the neighborhood if I had one of these when I was a kid, instead of the puny reflective face of my wristwatch. You might liken it to those little laser pointers that mischievious people tend to point at others. Except in this case, a few milliwatts of power are replaced with an entire nuclear reactor. The tiny little dot becomes around a meter squared, depending on mirror size.   

       Kids can already stick mirrors up to the window, but they don't think of it. Having one already out there will likely turn on some mentalbulbs. Better make these things un-aimable. Or just go with the light pipe version.   

       "light pipe" What a wonderful word. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
rapid transit, Jul 09 2003

       use 'perfect mirror' dielectric material to funnel in tight tube, or just low-tech it with silica glass. See 'solar laser' (not really) for some surgery, Israeli I think. D.
dinosnider, Oct 02 2003

       Better yet, use a periscope arrangment in front of the window so even the first floor residents have a top floor view.
ftzdomino, May 06 2005

       I'd have to vote with the light-pipe concept. A thousand individual mirrors exposed to the elements may or may not bake pigeons, but pigeons will surely cover their reflective surfaces with something unsightly,
ye_river_xiv, Jun 17 2006


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