We've been waiting for the end of the light bulb for what feels like decades. Incandescent lights are little more than poisonous shatter-prone fire hazards and it's high time we trade up to something better. That something better was supposed to be CFLs, then LEDs, and then OLEDs, but now it's looking like it might be nano-engineered polymer matrices instead.
Physicists at Wake Forest University have developed something called a field-induced polymer electroluminescent technology, or FIPEL, that uses a combination of electricity, plastic, and nanomaterials to create light. The light can come in any color you fancy, and since the emitter is plastic and not glass, it can be molded into all kinds of different shapes. The other advantage of using plastic is that you can't smash a FIPEL bulb into a bajillion deadly shards that end up in your carpet for you step on six months later so they can work their way through the bottom of your foot and into your bloodstream and get into your brain and kill off the brain-stuff that allows you to tell when people are being sarcastic — an affliction which many Internet users apparently suffer from.
Additionally, FIPELS offer lighting that's much more natural than LEDs (with the ability to match the solar spectrum perfectly), combined with an efficiency twice as good as CFLs. They don't heat up, either, which has been a big problem for LEDs in the past. And as far as service life goes, one of these lights has apparently been running in a lab for the last 10 years straight. Wait, what? You've had this thing for 10 years already? That can only mean that they're expensive and complicated to make and that they'll never see commercial production, right?
The researchers say that FIPELS are cheap and easy to make, and that commercial production could begin as early as next year.