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On the horizon: Glowing paths that illuminate the night

Friday - 10/25/2013, 4:45pm  ET

starpath400.jpg
A luminescent coating makes this walkway glow in twilight in this image from Pro-Teq Surfacing. (PR Newswire/Pro-Teq Surfacing)

WASHINGTON -- Dark, dangerous pathways could become a thing of the past, thanks to some new technology.

High-tech materials are being applied to surfaces to soak up sun rays during the day and create a glow-in-the-dark appearance at night.

Pro-Teq Surfacing in the UK developed the latest concept, called Starpath. Hamish Scott, managing director of Pro-Teq, describes the coating as "luminescent particles which will store the UV rays during the day" and glow at night. Because it only needs ultraviolet exposure, "It doesn't matter whether it's cloudy… it will still work."

Scott says one hour of exposure could yield 16 hours of light.

The product is designed to be applied as an overlay to concrete and asphalt surfaces that have reached the end of their useable life. Enhanced visibility is an added bonus, and a major selling point.

"If it's a very dark evening, it will glow quite brightly as an aqua color," Scott says. "You can see people walking towards you from easily 50 meters away."

Starpath has already been installed on a walkway in a park in Cambridge, England. Scott's company hopes to begin testing it on roads within the next six months.

He says we will "most definitely" see the product one day here in the U.S.

"The response we have had from America has been absolutely magnificent."

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