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New Solar Streetlight Can Detect Earthquakes

sharp streetlight

Sharp’s new solar-powered streetlight can do it all. Not only does the light operate for ten years without needing maintenance, but it also automatically turns on when it detects an earthquake.

The light use a high-intensity LED spotlight that has a service life of about 40,000 hours. It charges using built-in solar panels during the day, and shines automatically at night. Best of all, Sharp’s streetlight doesn’t create any light pollution—it’s illuminated with a directed light that doesn’t shine into the sky.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the streetlight is the built-in Seismic Motion Sensor. The sensor is built into the support pole of the main unit, and automatically switches the light to nighttime illumination mode upon detection of a 5.0 earthquake or larger on the Richter Scale. And light is both crucial and hard to find in an earthquake’s aftermath—after the disastrous 1995 Kobe quake, it took two days before power was restored.

Sharp’s streetlight will fittingly debut in Japan, but hopefully it will be deployed in other earthquake zones (ahem, my hometown of San Francisco) soon.

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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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