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Looking Into Light * *
SOMEDAY, a person with a potentially deadly allergy to peanuts or shell food may be able to carry an inexpensive spectroscopy lab the size of a laptop computer — or even a ballpoint pen — to test food for safety. Or automobiles may be equipped with special headlights that would improve night vision for drivers to reduce accidents. Meanwhile, the world’s food supply could be increased significantly with inexpensive and efficient growing methods.

Advances in what researchers call “smart lighting” someday may be able to bring about these innovations — and much more.

Revolutionary lighting systems will provide an entirely new means of sensing and broadcasting information, says E. Fred Schubert, Wellfleet Senior Constellation Professor, Future Chips. By blinking far too rapidly for any human to notice, the light will pick up data from sensors and carry it from room to room, reporting such information as the location of every person within a high-security building.

Schubert leads the Future Chips Constellation at Rensselaer, which focuses on research in semiconductor materials and devices to enable significant advances in communications, lighting, sensing, and imaging. A constellation is a multidisciplinary team of senior faculty, junior faculty, and graduate students led by outstanding researchers in strategic fields.

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by Sheila Nason Continued
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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Communications.

 
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