Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Usefully Reflective Windows

Reduce accidental glare, get some use out of it.
  (+5, -3)
(+5, -3)
  [vote for,

Look at the nearest window-covered building: not all the windows face precisely the same direction, so the reflection of the clouds is all messed up. Sometimes you'll get a blinding reflection of the sun from several slightly misaligned windows.

Put the windows at precisely the right angles (not 90 degree angles) and give each one a slight curve (parabola, etc.) so that all the sunlight focuses on a single point. Sunlight comes from the right direction only once a year, so the windows might have to move to adjust for time and season. This might look cool even without the sun.

The focus could be centered in a tub of water that would heat up and turn a turbine generator, etc. Or it could focus on a key element those industrial lawn sculptures that many businesses put on the grass. You could focus on a big disco ball, although it might not be as special during the daytime.

Or my favorite: building wars. Law firm across the street taking your business? Cook the competition! I'm not serious here, but perhaps there are military applications. Maybe tall buildings could shoot down incoming terrorist planes (if you don't mind killing the civilians) with focused sunlight. The larger the building, the more likely it is to be a terrorist target, the more power it would have to protect itself! Imagine a bank robbery: melt the getaway car (you might have to spray it with black paint first, curse those white, unmarked vans)!

Ketchupybread, May 21 2007

MIT Archimedes Death Ray testing http://web.mit.edu/...chimedesResult.html
Not as unsuccessful as the Mythbusters. [jutta, May 21 2007]

Sort of like this? http://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Solar_furnace
Invented by some-one French... [neutrinos_shadow, May 22 2007]

Close up of Mirror http://www.technolo.../energy1/solar4.htm
(at the bottom of the page) [neutrinos_shadow, May 22 2007]


       Sorry Ketchup... Mythbusters did 2 segments on Archamedies parabolic reflective mirror weapon and it was completely busted that couldn't generate enough heat on a non moving object.   

       But at best result you can really tick off potential customers and invent new lawsuits in this sue happy world???
The collector, May 21 2007

       As a glazier that works on large scale highrises installing 500-2500lb glass and aluminum panels, i can tell you that these panels while they look perfectly aligned (all done with a laser) the nature of concrete means not everyting is perfect, as it is all installed for look.   

       Since each floor of a bulding can deflect up to 1/2 inch, and compress inwards to the core of the buiilding up to an inch overall due the high tehnsion cables in place of rebar, all of the imprefectly installed panels will need constant adjustment, which invovles ripping apart suites and offices.
Giblet, May 21 2007

       The mythbusters episodes didn't use a whole building's worth of mirrors, just an about 8x8ft circle. Even on TV, it got hot enough to boil water - just not to set a soggy ship on fire, as per the story they were trying to reenact.   

       Given what Giblet just wrote, the windows could be mounted to dynamically compensate for the movement of their frame, say, under computer control - expensive, but not impossible.
jutta, May 21 2007

       So it could be done, but isn't worth anyones time?   

       Sounds good on the HB, bun.
Germanicus, May 21 2007

       (if you don't mind killing the civilians)   

       Nice tagline.
Texticle, May 21 2007

       I've spent the day arguing with engineers that believe because they can draw it perfectly on the computer, the process they have chosen will automatically deliver what they want.   

       How refreshing to have [giblet] note that reality does not always mirror the design.
normzone, May 21 2007

       Some of Frank Gehry's buildings have done this by accident, blinding drivers and cooking people out of nearby apartments with concentrated reflected sunlight. Doing intentionally what Gehry did accidently deserves a bun, because you had the intelligence to think it through while Gehry clearly didn't. [+]   

       Adaptive mirrors are used in large telescopes, so the technology exists to do this with a building.
nuclear hobo, May 21 2007


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