Wondering What to Do With Old BluRays? Solar Power!

Seriously. Full Blu-Rays, from The Godfather to Saw VI all have patterns of binary code on them that amp the efficiency of solar panels.
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Seriously. Full Blu-Rays, from The Godfather to Saw VI all have patterns of binary code on them that amp the efficiency of solar panels.

My office was starting to look like this:

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And, I must admit, I liked the way it made me feel. There was a point of pride to it. That said, other than the Miyazaki titles I was curating for my 2 year old, I wasn't watching any of them - none of the gorgeous Criterion Collection packages, none of the 20th Anniversary Special Editions or box sets - when I wanted to watch those films, I was calling them up on myriad streaming services from Netflix and Hulu to SnagFilms, Seed & Spark and beyond. 

And then came the move. 

After 10 years in the one place, the shift was happening. Away from the duplex at the beach toward a more modest suburban setting. House. Yard. Chickens. And a shed (aka-office-in-waiting). So, the DVDs, Blu-Rays, CD-Roms (maybe?), would have to be boxed or nixed. And then I saw THIS on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' site:

"Blu-ray Discs Spin Their Way Into Making Solar Cells More Efficient"

Yep. Researchers over at Northwestern University are "repurposing Blu-ray movie discs as quasi-random nanoimprinting templates for photon management" WHAT? Well, it turns out the compressed code on a full Blu-Ray - a series of binary 1s and 0s - create little etched crests and troughs on the surface of the disc - and, apparently, the size of these sequences is kinda perfect for trapping photons (which carry energy!).

The Blu-Ray-patterned solar panels capture 21.8 percent more light than non-patterned panels and raise the power conversion of the cell by about 12 percent, meaning its more efficient, too!

While the upshot was that I did split and sell my collection by sending them off to a 3rd party seller, and another couple of hundred ended their relationship with me via a yard sale, had I known about this tech sooner I might well have almost thought about somehow attempting some innovative solar panel blu-magic at my new place. 

Or... I would have finished reading the article, made some pop-corn and dropped one of the 50 discs with which I couldn't part, probably Ponyo, into the player. 

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