Step Aside, Street Lamps: These Ordinary Paths Glow On Their Own

Charging off-grid street lamps with solar power is a positive step towards reducing energy consumption. But what if our sun-baked public walkways also glowed in the dark?

A UK-based company has patented a spray-on substance that gives plain old pavement an after-hours glimmer. Pro-Teq developed the product, Starpath, as a way to reduce energy costs for the Cambridge city council—and the company is currently testing the stuff at a second location in the university town.

The treatment process is actually pretty quick; after the polyurethane base is applied—apparently tarmac and concrete are ideal surfaces—a layer of quick-drying topcoat will seal the whole deal. A 420-foot-long stretch can be done and dusted in a matter of hours.

The only thing that's missing—and what presumably separates this tech from the street lamps—is the ability to switch it off. While a pitch-black park or back alley isn’t particularly appealing, it’s easy to imagine the perennial light pollution that would result if this Starpath became more common.

Putting our futuristic, neon-fueled fantasies aside for a second, it might be a tough sell on a grand scale—but judicious usage could add just enough nighttime illumination to make perfect sense. [PSFK]