Gallery: METROPOLIS NEXT GENERATION: Lunar Resonant Lights


We’ve seen tons of lighting projects that harness the sun’s energy, but none that respond to the other, oft-overlooked light source that graces our sky the other 12 hours of the day (or night, as the case may be). Civil Twilight Collective’s amazing Lunar Resonant Streetlight system is so ingenious that it was just named the grand prize winner of Metropolis’ Next Generation 2007 contest, which crowns one forward-thinking project as the most promising and innovative new idea (this year the competition focused on energy). The high-tech streetlight has an embedded ultra-sensitive photocell that responds to the changing brightness of moonlight, turning on and dimming as appropriate, cutting down on unnecessary light pollution while making evening strolls down Main Street more pleasant and energy-efficient.

The San Francisco design collective’s trio (Christina Seely, Anton Willis, and Kate Lydon) installed a prototype at the San Francisco Herman Miller showroom during the award ceremony, where people could dim and brighten the lamp by waving their hands over the sensor. For more info about the project and the designers, check out the May issue of Metropolis. Civil Twilight will also be honored at ICFF at Metropolis’ Design Entrepreneurs: Rethinking Energy seminar on May 21st.

+ Civil Twilight Collective
+ Metropolis Magazine Next Generation 2007 Competition


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  1. R, Johnson December 17, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    On thing that has not been addressed here are stray voltage issues which is always an issue in city infastructure systems. In New York City, for example, each year a number of people (and pets)are injured from stray voltage which can electrify manhole covers and street lamps. A woman was killed after she stepped on a manhole casement which had been accidentaly electrified. There are many other cases involving injuries, some serious. In Northern cities, this is compounded with the use of salt on the streets in the winter. I came upon a clever solution at a trade show to this issue is to have a real-time stray voltage warning system. Electrified Cover Safeguard technology ( might offer a solution to this issue.

  2. Lee May 8, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    The problem exists at the municipal level where lighting requirements are set forth in code and zoning. This idea is fantastic although it does not account for a few things: 1. Establishing lighting levels based on fluctuations complicates the already beaurocratic red tape of installing street and parking lot lighting. 2. This would unfortunately NOT take into consideration surrounding landscaping that has a dramatic impact on lighting levels (ie: the moonlight might reach the photo sensor on top of the pole, but not underneath a tree or other structures nearby that would get light from a pole light).

    LED is certainly a dramatic improvement over traditional lighting as far as energy consumption and maintanence are concerned, but traditional lighting still has much more precise lighting patterns used in maximizing a lighting design. Certainly the way design and development are headed something like this isn’t too far in the future, but like all things, a lot of progress in many areas is needed until something like this becomes widespread.

    The biggest energy efficiency that we can make in street/pole lighting is a switch to LED’s, but there has to be better options and lighting patterns for this to happen.

  3. jared May 8, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    if it is so obviuous why have we not seen it?
    some of the most ingenious things are right in front of our faces, we just are not looking.

  4. royalestel May 8, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    So it’s a giant nightlight with a built-in dimmer. I’m just not that impressed, but hey, I’m just a guy.

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