Virginia Tech considers pedestrian-powered lighting and other innovations for Drillfield Image courtesy of Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech considers pedestrian-powered lighting and other innovations for Drillfield

As Virginia Tech develops a master plan for the Drillfield, the historic center of the university’s campus, ideas from Virginia Tech students and faculty are helping shape the design, including technological innovations such as using energy generated by pedestrian foot traffic to power pathway lighting.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that faculty and students from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies as well as the College of Engineering are contributing to the plan as part of the university’s smART Field research project. The plan’s goal “is to preserve the beauty of the area while making it a more usable space,” according to a statement of the plan on Tech’s website.

Other ideas that may be incorporated include lighting that follows pedestrians as they move around the campus at night, and porous concrete to help combat the flooding that frequently afflicts the bowl-shaped elevation that comprises the Drillfield.

Though many of the suggested smART Field improvements, developed over the last year, are still conceptual in nature, many have already seen a public proof of concept. It is hoped that once funding is secured, the upgrades will someday become a reality.

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