The Netherlands is making history — and possibly channeling the popular science-fiction film Tron. Dutch companies are experimenting with photoluminescent paint; if all goes well, the paint will naturally glow in the dark, casting plenty of light onto the roads while saving a considerable amount of money and energy. The neon-colored, glow-in-the-dark lines, reminiscent of something straight out of a sci-fi film, went into affect on Sunday, ABC News reports.
“I forced them to look at movies of jellyfish. How does a jellyfish give light? It has no solar panel, it has no energy bill. And then we went back to the drawing board and came up with these paints which charge up in the daytime and give light at night,” conceptual artist Daan Roosegaarde told BBC.
With conservative amounts of daylight, the photoluminescent paint glows for at least eight hours — long enough to light up roads while it is dark. The real test, researchers continue, will be the test of time. There are still questions about how long the paint will last with considerable wear. Traffic, day in and day out, may reduce the luminosity of the paint.
“I think right now this is more of a fad,” explains Nicole Onstott, President and Owner of Artistic Group. “This could work in the future, but probably not the near-future. It would have be perfected. You’d have to figure out a way to make it last, and properly transfer everything over.”
Technology for “temperature-sensitive paint to warn drivers of the possibility of ice” is also in the works, according to ABC. Currently, the glow-in-the-dark lines illuminate 0.3-miles of a Dutch highway. Successful trial runs would save money, energy, and “eliminate the need for streetlights,” NPR adds. According to Business Insider, glow-in-the-dark roads are likely to make an international appearance sometime this year.