This approach to lighting up a large surface area without the use of lights requiring hundreds of watts of power or arrays of hundreds of exposed LEDs offers an alternate method that reduces the necessary power consumption by a magnitude of 100 times or in some cases even more. One example shown below on a vinyl awning requires less than 1/2 watt of power to illuminate a 144 sq. inch area using a flexible solar film embedded in the awning surface charging a Lithium-Ion 2000ma. mobile phone style battery measuring 1.5" X 1.25" X 1/4". One watt can illuminate up to several square feet of surface area that can be easily seen hundreds of feet away.
The concept is a simple one, but the implications are huge. By attaching hundreds of plastic optical fibers to a single LED and machine welding the end-points into a flexible surface defining large alphanumeric characters or graphics, the light output becomes bright defining lines which would otherwise require hundreds or thousands of LEDs mounted on flexible surfaces to achieve the same effect which would be impractical and non-durable. By adding a programmable PCB as an LED driver, the flexible display is able to change colors, capture more attention, and animate graphics on the surfaces of retail awnings for far less cost than conventional LED screens.
Prior to the creation of fiber optic insertion machines, this method could not be commercialized, but today with machines in place to manufacture LED/Optic displays like these, this innovative method could conceivably reduce over time the use of terawatts of power from the grid that could be channeled for other more utility purposes.