10 YEARS AGO — 2001
Light it up: Want to hoop it up after dark? SparkleGlo plastic optical fiber from Poly-Optical Products Inc., Irvine, Calif., makes it possible. Huffy Sports is using SparkleGlo with an LED for its new Light It Up lighted backboard and rim. The entire backboard and rim, powered by two AA batteries, gives off a glowing light.

Besides recreational uses, the side-lighting optical fiber, abraded on four sides, can be easily formed for decorative and safety lighting, as well as for control panels and POS/POP displays. It offers a heat-free, EMI-free, colorful, and flexible line of light to 20 ft. SparkleGlo is weather and vibration resistant and comes in nominal diameters of 0.060, 0.080, 0.100, and 0.120 in.

30 YEARS AGO — 1981
Energy source blossoming in the desert: Solar One, the world’s largest solar-powered pilot plant at 10,000 kW, is shown nearing completion in the Mojave Desert. Consisting of a 300-ft central receiver “power tower” surrounded by some 1,800 heliostats within a 75-acre area, the facility will use sunlight reflected onto the tower by the giant movable mirrors to produce steam. Designed by McDonnell Douglas Corp., Solar One will demonstrate the capabilities of solar plants ranging in size up to 100 MW and will provide power equivalent to the needs of a community of 7,000 people. Other members of the Solar One project team are the U. S. Dept. of Energy, the Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power, Southern California Edison Co., and the California Energy Commission.

50 YEARS AGO — 1961
An electronic alternator, offered by Motorola Inc. as replacement equipment for automobiles, is available as either a 30 or 45-A unit and will fit most 12-V, negative-ground models built since 1959. Replacing the dc generator and its regulator, the system consists of an alternator, a voltage regulator, and a universal installation kit. Motorola says it extends battery life from 25 to 50%, even in taxicabs or passenger cars having a number of accessories.

© 2011 Penton Media, Inc.