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Gold Nanosponges and a Thousand LEDs Make Efficient, Adaptive Headlights

Conventional headlights are extraordinarily wasteful. In order to light up your side of the road, they end up illuminating a bunch of other side of the road (including the eyeballs of other drivers), as well as a significant chunk of the sky—and trees and houses and garden gnomes and lawn flamingos—for no good reason. Won't somebody please think of all of those poor photons, zipping uselessly off into random directions? Fortunately, the Fraunhofer Institute is very concerned about the fate of photons. They've designed a new type of headlight that illuminates the road ahead better than ever before, using a thousand LEDs—70 percent of which are usually kept in photon-saving mode. That is, turned off.

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