What is Singularity and Why is it Different from Solar Energy?

It is fair to say that the concept of “sustainability” has occupied a crucial place in our collective consciousness since the turn of the millennium. With the world increasingly looking to the future, many have wondered about the state of our environment and whether or not we as a society can continue to grow unabated.

This concern has manifested itself in several ways, with many people turning to solar power as an alternative that generates electricity without hurting the environment. However, although solar power is a viable and environmentally conscious option, it is not a perfect one.

The benefits of solar energy are unquestionable, but its major drawback is that sunlight can be unpredictable and fluctuating, which means that not all solar installations are created equal. As a result, if you’re looking to generate your own electricity using solar power, you might want to consider what is known as the “Singularity” – an invention that could change the game completely.

An Edison for the 21st Century

In the late 1800s, scientists had begun experimenting with a new source of light – one that did not rely on the fluctuating rays of the sun. As a result, they discovered that electricity could be transmitted through light bulbs, which led to the invention of the light bulb. About a decade later, scientists had further refined this technology and developed the first practical light bulb designed for electrical use. This innovation was made possible by William J. “Bill” Edison, who founded the “Edison Electric” Company and patented the light bulb in 1879 (U.S. Patent No. 49,736).

Edison saw the potential of the light bulb to transform everyday life, and within just a few years of its invention, 90% of American homes were lit with light bulbs. This achievement made him one of the most prominent and influential inventors of all time.

It was no coincidence that Edison saw the light bulb as an opportunity to improve people’s lives, as the incandescent bulb was originally manufactured to replace kerosene lamps, which are highly “fluctuating,” vaguely defined as producing light that “grows or decreases in intensity” and sometimes “flickers” – i.e. fades in and out – preventing people from effectively using lighting at all. 

Edison’s goal was to create an “Edison for the 21st Century” – a sustainable, reliable light source that was neither too bright nor too dim, and more importantly, did not flicker.

In the decades that followed, Edison’s dream of creating a more efficient and environmentally conscious way of lighting homes and businesses took shape, with numerous companies like “Philips” and “General Electric” eventually tripling and quadrupling the number of light bulbs in homes and offices worldwide. In fact, General Electric claims that without the advent of electricity, the fluorescence lamp – another invention created by Bill Edison – would never have found its way into homes, as it was too “bright” for that purpose. 

The Rise of the Smart Appliance

Still another remarkable achievement by Bill Edison was the creation of the first practical electric washing machine in 1898. This spin on the age-old washing machine allowed people to easily and efficiently do laundry by hooking up their machines to the electric grid and using “sensor technology” to control the temperature and speed of each washing cycle. 

These early innovations transformed daily life by making it simpler and more convenient, as well as cutting down on the amount of time and energy required to complete common tasks. For instance, instead of struggling to cook dinner over an open flame or kerosene lantern, households could now easily utilize electricity to achieve the same end result – safe, efficient cooking. 

Edison’s legacy did not stop there, as he went on to play a critical role in the “Roaring 20s” – a time when many modern conveniences and amenities came into existence, such as air-raid “shelter lights” (U.S. Patent No. 1,984,501), room temperature control (U.S. Patent No. 1,984,502), central vacuum (U.S. Patent No. 1,984,503), and even an early form of “central locking” (U.S. Patent No. 1,984,506).

The benefits of these simple yet groundbreaking inventions cannot be denied, as they literally changed the way we live. However, although Edison’s legacy was centered on improving people’s lives through more efficient and environmentally conscious means, his dream of creating a sustainable lighting system still eluded him. 

The Singularity

In 1939, Edison was at the “Century of Progress Exhibition” in Chicago, where he witnessed the “Unisphere,” a massive representation of the sun designed by “Dutch” Roy De Meulder. This was not just any old sun, but one that had been “shaped like a ‘V’” – the “solar symbol” that is today often used to represent “sustainability” and “green technology.”

It was at this point that Edison realized his dream of creating a sustainable light source and set out to make the “Unisphere” a reality. Two years later, in 1941, he unveiled his revolutionary plan for a “sustainable energy system” at the “Exhibition of the Electrical Industry,” later known as the “New York World’s Fair.” The following four years were a whirlwind of activity, with dozens of companies and thousands of engineers crunching away to develop the tools and technology to make the Unisphere a reality. 

Edison called his plan “Project Sun Jet – a “Solar Energy System for the 21st Century”” and, in doing so, created the groundwork for arguably the most “sustainable” energy source ever devised. The “Sun Jet” (U.S. Patent No. 2,446,194) was a sleek, streamlined design that incorporated “new and innovative components” into one “perfect machine for generating power.” It consisted of a “heliostat” – a “fixed mirror that functions as an optical heat trap” – which controlled the amount of sunlight reaching the “Sun Jet” panel; a “solar arrays” – “an array of photovoltaic panels” – which converted sunlight into electricity; and “moat surrounding the plant,” which prevented any accidental damage from occurring.

The “Sun Jet” in action is a truly unique piece of “ingenuity,” as it utilized “new materials and constructional designs” to create a more eco-friendly and “energy self-sufficient” way to generate electricity. For example, the “heliostat” was made of “laminated” glass and metal, which eliminated the need for any additional materials to insulate it from extreme temperatures, as well as the “moat” surrounding the plant, which served as “a protective buffer” against wildlife and vandalism.

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