Glow-In-The-Dark Parks: Starpath Spray-On Coating Lights Up Walkways At Night [VIDEO]

By Josh Lieberman on October 25, 2013 2:16 PM EDT

starpath
Starpath makes park pathways glow at night. It's currently being trialled at Christ's Pieces, a park in Cambridge, England. (Photo: Pro-Teq Surfacing)

The UK company Pro-Teq Surfacing has come up with a novel method for lighting park pathways and other public surfaces. Their new Starpath technology can be sprayed onto concrete, wood and other solid surfaces to make them light up at night. The company envisions Starpath as a way for municipalities to lower their electrical bills by allowing them to turn off street lights.

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Starpath works by absorbing and storing energy from ambient daytime light, energy which is then released in the form of a bluish-glowing light. It's basically the same thing that happens when you take a glow-in-the-dark keychain and hold it up to a lightbulb; turn the lights off and you'll find you now have a brightly-glowing keychain. That's because shining a light on a glow-in-the-dark keychain excites its phosphors, photoluminescent chemicals like zinc sulphide or strontium aluminate. The incoming photons are stored in the keychain, and when they're released, the object glows.

Starpath is made up of three layers: a polyurethane base, a layer of light-absorbing chemicals (like those described above) and a waterproof coat to finish it off. The material is also anti-slip, and of course Starpath uses no electricity.

"This product adjusts to the natural light, so if it is pitch black outside the luminous natural earth enhances, and if the sky is lighter, it won't release as much luminosity -- it adjusts accordingly, its almost like it has a mind of its own," said Pro-Teq owner Hamish Scott in a press release. Scott called it "pure nature doing its work."

Starpath is currently being trialled in Christ's Pieces, a park in Cambridge, England. As the Independent notes, Starpath isn't bright enough to replace street lights entirely, but the system is suitable for low foot traffic areas where municipalities may try to cut electrical costs by turning off lights altogether. According to the Smithsonian, Starpath costs $10.50 per square foot. 

Watch the video below to see how Starpath is installed, and what the finished product looks like. It's all pretty cool, but is it as cool as this?

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