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Geeking Out: Glowing roads

By Jeremy Nobile | Staff writer Published: April 25, 2014 10:00 AM
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At first thought, glow-in-the-dark roads may sound like something at your nearest funhouse or go-kart track. However, the technology has made a quiet -- albeit flashy -- debut in the Netherlands where street lights have been replaced on a relatively short 0.3-mile stretch of road with glowing road paint. The dreamy radiance of the pavement marking comes from a photoluminescence powder -- which is a fancy name for a material that captures light during the day and releases it slowly after dark.

A partnership between Studio Roosegaarde and local government has brought the design to the public for the first time in one of the most practical applications of photoluminescence for the common good since you plastered those glow-in-the-dark novelty stars all over your bedroom walls as a kid. Studio founder Daan Roosegaarde has said his vision for the project even includes weather markings including snowflakes on the pavement that light up when the temperatures drop low enough. Besides another way of reminding drivers of road conditions, it looks pretty damn cool. Roosegaarde has said he hopes to create similar projects, but has no contracts yet. Considering the bevy of governmental red tape that would likely stifle such a project in America, it's unlikely we'll see glowing paint on I-80 anytime soon. But the idea of driving on a veritable Rainbow Road of Mario Kart fame can't help but excite you.

If only we could smear that same glow-in-the-dark powder on Ohio's many wayward deer, then we'd really be making progress.

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