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Audi's 'Swarm' Makes Brake Lights Beautiful

Most rush-hour drivers get sick of looking at the taillights in front of them. But automaker Audi has devised a display of rear-end lights so artistic and visually stunning that commuters may actually look forward to the drive to work.

Fashioned from OLEDs, or organic light-emitting diodes, the lights not only alert other drivers upon braking and turning, they also provide information about the car's speed and the road in front of it, the Daily Mail reports.

The display is nicknamed "the Swarm," reports, and was inspired by the way a swarm of animals moves. The fluid, sinuous moving-light display resembles a large flock of birds in flight, or a fast-moving school of fish.

OLEDs are micro-thin films of organic compounds that emit light when charged by an electric current, according to the Daily Mail. The OLED compounds can be applied onto many surfaces like glass or plastic, and are brighter and more energy-efficient than ordinary LED lights.

Despite their hypnotic beauty — or perhaps because of it — the Swarm lighting display has aroused some grumbling from auto safety groups.

"The Swarm is a delightful concept design, but under current lighting regulations it is probably best saved for aquariums or art galleries," a spokesperson from Britain's Automobile Association told the Daily Mail.

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Marc Lallanilla
Marc Lallanilla has been a science writer and health editor at and a producer with His freelance writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Marc has a Master's degree in environmental planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin.