Fiber optic cable uses light to reliably and quickly relay millions of bits of data per second over thousands of miles. The technology is breaking down geographic barriers, allowing new levels of communication between nations and cultures in what has been termed “the fiber revolution.”
It can also make your patio look really cool.
The same technology that can beam information between Highland Park and Guam is now available as a residential lighting option. Fiber optic lighting has become economically viable, particularly for outdoor applications, and the aesthetic and practical benefits are generating glowing optimism in the new “distributed lighting” industry.
With fiber optic lighting, a single source (or illuminator) generates light with a fairly conventional bulb or an LED bulb and directs it through plastic fibers. The fibers themselves offer two basic lighting options. The fiber can be sheathed with a dark cover to only allow light from the end (point-to-point), or it can be opaque, allowing for a striking effect (sidelit) closely resembling neon.
George Saviolidis, President of Gs FiberLite, says “I love it because once it’s installed, it never has to be touched again, it allows you to work it into a home’s construction or landscaping.”
The illuminator can be placed in a garage, tool shed–just about anywhere. The cable itself carries just light, no electric current and little heat, allowing new levels of placement flexibility. As a result, many early installations have been in areas where the presence of electricity can be problematic, like swimming pools.
“You can now have a light source in some area of your yard and pump light into a cable terminating in the deep end of your pool,” says Mr. Saviolidis “You can change the color of the light, make it brighter or dimmer, even change the bulb without draining the pool, for about the same price as the old systems
“There’s no voltage in the cable, no heat from the lights and it’s basically maintenance-free,” Saviolidis says. “There’s also RGBW to let you change the color of your yard lights with a flip of a switch. You’ll also be able to add up to 18 additional lights on the single illuminator without losing brightness.”
Mr Saviolidis says one of his most favorite and enjoyable installations are Star bottom pools.