These eye-catching UrbanTiles could turn skyscrapers into zero-energy light displays by harvesting energy during the day and releasing it at night in an array of customized graphics. The dual-sided linking tiles drape over the exterior of a building, and they flip from outward-facing solar panels to OLED panels to create a large-scale dot matrix illuminated graphics. This amazing concept may not be very far off from reality, granted the rapid pace of OLED technology
The tile concept was developed by industrial designer Meidad Marzan for his graduation project at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. The catchy video above shows how the rotating tiles function. In homage to my favorite clip from Hitchcock’s North by Northwestt, Marzan suggests that during the solar charging state, the OLED panels could be used as an entertainment display screen for rooms inside the building.
OLED technology utilizes layers of thin films that encapsulate a luminous phosphorous. Just like solar sheets, OLED displays can be made flexible, and therefore can curve as suggested in Marzan’s pillowed tile assembly.
Marzan has also suggested an intuitive interface that would allow users to change the pattern off the light tiles by drawing with their finger on a type of tablet. It would be amazing to watch all of the tiles flip in real-time as the image is drawn on-screen.
Designers are imaging OLED technology for everything from small-scale gadgets like cell phones to architectural applications like facade lighting. It is still uncertain when OLED and solar integration will be commercially viable, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on the technology as it progresses.