Norway might be using giant mirrors to bring sunlight into a town sandwiched by mountains, but how can urban apartment owners in dungeon-like situations harness that kind of heliostat technology? Lucy, from San Diego-based Italian start-up Solenica, is one solution for bringing more sunshine into our lives. Founded by Cambridge University graduate Diva Tommei (who knows her stuff—she has a PhD in molecular and computational biology), Solenica has been working on a sun-tracking intelligent mirror system for years, albeit under different names like SunnyBot.
Lucy is free of wires—powered by none other than the solar energy it’s redirecting—and there’s no set-up beyond placing it in view of the sun. Point Lucy in the direction of the space that sorely needs light and, from its resting spot, the intelligent mirror inside the transparent sphere will follow the sun. As the sun moves across the sky, Lucy’s mirror (which is connected to a network of photosensors) is continually realigning itself to direct maximum rays to where you need them; the team states Lucy can illuminate the equivalent of 7000 lumens, which is more than the 5000 lumens needed for an average-sized room of 250 square feet. Thanks to a hermetically closed sphere, Lucy can even be used outside as the mirror is protected from the wind and weather. It’s 100% waterproof.
Lucy’s tech is packaged nicely into a portable, low-maintenance (simply wipe the sphere every so often to keep it clean) and easy-to-use product that has us excited for its diverse potential. Beyond just helping those suffering from seasonal affective disorder—or just frustrating apartment layouts—Lucy could work for artists or photographers who value natural lighting or on indoor houseplants. It also saves energy by keeping lamps off. What’s certain is that in a city like New York, there’s no such thing as too much sunlight.
Images courtesy of Lucy