- Monuments Around The Globe Are Turning Blue For Autism Awareness – BuzzFeed: In an effort to increase autism awareness, 13,000 buildings across the globe shined bright blue on the evening of April 1. An annual tradition since 2008, major world landmarks, such as the Empire State Building and its LED Lighting System, lit up blue in honor of World Autism Awareness Day.
- Taiwan Expanding Into Indoor LED-lit, Pesticide-free Farms – Lancaster Online: A new generation of Taiwanese farmers is growing vegetables indoors under bright LED lights in climate-controlled “grow rooms”. High-tech indoor farms are now yielding more crops per area than soil and because of the intensity of lights and nutrients provided in the water, plants grown under LED lights grow twice as fast.
- Hotels Light Up to Influence Human Behavior – Sourceable: Amongst furnishings and art, lighting is emerging as the most important factor that can evoke emotion and create ambiance for hotel guests. A case study by electrical firm Leviton, demonstrated how LED lamps are able to transform lobby areas with colors and aesthetics that couldn’t be achieved with standard incandescent lighting.
- LA Connects, Controls its LED Street Lights – Energy Manager Today: The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting has implemented a new management system that allows it to remotely control the city’s LED street lights, along with monitor power usage. Made up of about 7,500 centerline miles of LED street lights, LA’s entire system can be managed remotely through any web browser, eliminating on-site commissioning.
LEDs mock natural lighting
As LEDs have started to be implemented into homes and workspaces, they’ve proven that good indoor lighting can offer much more than just brightness. It can provide beauty, elegance, esthetic, comfort, ambience and character into any space when used appropriately.
The Leica Camera headquarters, for example, have a modern and sophisticated feel thanks to the tasteful mix of LED and fluorescent lighting.
Photo credit: LEDs Magazine
The lighting in the Leica workspace blends seamlessly into the building’s design, providing a beautifully clean look and an optimum work environment. The design incorporates a mix of color temperatures to provide the look and feel of natural light.
Natural light doesn’t just enhance the look of the interior, however — it also has the ability to uplift people’s spirits.
Feeling blue? LEDs can change your mood
In addition to creating a more comfortable visual experience, LED lights have even proven to be able to change moods.
Thanks to modern technology, mood lighting can be controlled by connecting smartphones to LEDs or by using other high tech lighting systems. According to the Cooperative Research Network, adjusting the color of lighting can help people feel happier and not as tired at the end of the day.
Humans prefer daylight, and so any sort of lighting that more naturally resembles sunlight makes them more energetic. These mood-enhancing lighting systems can be programmed to shut off, however, when everyone has gone home for the night. In fact, the Leica facility has programmed its lighting system to dim when feasible to save energy and also to extinguish in areas whenever unoccupied.
LEDs brighten outdoor displays
While natural lighting may be preferable for indoor spaces, who doesn’t love a good outdoor light display?
To attract and excite onlookers, the outside of buildings and major landmarks, such as Madison Square Garden and the Calgary Tower, are receiving LED upgrades to their appearance.
Photo credit: New York Post
Outdoor venues are beginning to see the advantages of LEDs for several reasons, including:
- Lower energy consumptions
- Availability in a broad range of brilliant, saturated colors
- Lower maintenance costs
- High efficiency
- Very long lifetimes
Whether used for indoor or outdoor applications, there’s clearly a bright future for LED lighting.
You would think that there is little in the world of basketball that could leave Kobe Bryant speechless. The Mamba has seen his fair share of amazing plays, arenas and players, so it would be safe to say that much on the basketball court doesn’t impress him.
That all changed when he caught a glimpse of the new LED basketball court at the “House of Mamba” in Shanghai.
The court — created by Nike — has LEDs and sensors built into the floor that allow for it to change its display, markings and images almost instantly. While it can display a classic basketball court layout, the real value for the court comes from the fact that it can be programmed to show a variety of training drills and exercises. Athletes can follow lights and lines to practice footwork drills, all while the sensors in the floor track their time and progress, and then display the players’ time.
The “House of Mamba” was built as a part of Nike’s Rise campaign, a competition to find China’s best young basketball players, with the top three moving on to the Nike World Basketball Festival in Barcelona. Thirty players were brought in to run through a variety of drills based on Kobe’s own training regimen.
This basketball court not only represents the future of high-end athletic training, but also makes us think about how LEDs can affect athletics in the future. From the instant ability to change the floor lines in multipurpose rooms depending on the sport being played, to sensors and lights that track faults and out-of-bounds in sports like tennis and volleyball, LEDs will provide tremendous value for both amateur and professional athletes alike.
“LEDs are giving us the ability to do creative things that were never done, or even imagined, before with traditional lighting products,” said Jed Dorsheimer, Managing Director at Equity Research. “The use of LEDs in basketball courts is just one more example of how solid-state lighting is breaking from the mold of how lighting can be used. With the phasing out of incandescent light bulbs and the new creative uses for LEDs, the solid-state lighting market has the potential to be much larger than the traditional lighting market.”
Check out the video of Nike’s “House of Mamba” LED basketball court, and let us know in the comments what you think the future of LEDs in sports will be.
There have been quite a few stories lately about how LEDs are making a difference in medical settings. Here are a few cases where LEDs are making a difference with infection control, intensive care unit lighting and in medical research for brain disorders.
Controlling the spread of infection through mobile devices in hospitals
The statistics about hospital acquired infections (HAIs) are staggering. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, HAIs inpact more than a million people a year in the US alone and are linked to nearly 100,000 US deaths per year. More than 50 percent of healthcare workers admit to using mobile devices during direct physical contact with patents and yet only 8 percent say that actually clean them. According to Hospital and Health Networks, 65 percent of doctors believe that the increased use in mobile devices in the healthcare environment leads to the spread of disease.
Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. (SETi) plans to unveil a new line of disinfection cases for phones, tablet computers and other mobile devices at Medica tradefair in Dusseldorf, Germany, November 20– 23, 2013. Using SETi’s UV LEDs, the disinfection cases are the world’s first fully portable disinfection units and are designed to be carried with the mobile device as a protective case as well as a disinfection system.
Using LED lighting to help critically ill patients
Special LED-based luminous ceiling lighting by Philips has been introduced into clinical use by the Charité Campus Virchow Clinic in Berlin as part of a unique stress-reducing concept called Parametric Spatial Design. Simulating energizing daylight to comfort critically ill patients, Parametric Spatial Design uses the area above a patient bed to create sky-like visuals mimicking daylight customized to the needs of individual patients.
Clinical research has shown that factors like loud noise, inappropriate lighting conditions and social isolation can increase the risk of patients in intensive care slipping into a shock-like state.
Philips played a significant role in designing this innovative concept. The luminous ceiling from Philips combines a natural, dynamic rhythm of daylight and the effects of gentle colorful light and visual content to create a soothing environment for patents. It incorporates 15,400 LEDs and extends from the ceiling onto the wall in front of a patient’s bed, filling a patient’s field of vision.
Shining Light on Brain Disorders
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (WUSTL) are using tiny, electronic devices that include an LED to identify and map neural circuits in the brain especially those that target specific populations of brain cells that malfunction in depression, pain, addiction and other disorders.
The team’s work has been recognized with a rare grant called EUREKA (Exceptional, Unconventional Research Enabling Knowledge Acceleration) that funds high-risk/high-reward projects from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which awards only 12 to 18 such grants each year.
The WUSTL team will develop specialized, optically sensitive G-protein-coupled receptors on brain cells that will make it possible to control cell signaling in the brain with light. Combining these new receptor tools with the wireless micro-LED devices implanted in a mouse brain should enable researchers to learn about molecular and cellular events that underlie stress, addiction and depression. The researchers hope to isolate and map the brain networks involved in stress by studying how the mice interact in their cages.
The team developed the special wireless micro-LED devices with researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Many researchers use optogenetic techniques to isolate pathways in the mouse brain, but those animals are often tethered to wires. The team at WUSTL can observe animals that are able to move freely because the LED devices that they developed are portable and wireless.
For Further Reading
LED Journal, Using UV LEDs to Control the Spread of Hospital Acquired Infections, http://www.ledjournal.com/main/markets/applications/using-uv-leds-to-control-the-spread-of-hospital-acquired-infections/
Philips News Release, Luminous ceiling from Philips simulates daylight to comfort critically ill patients in Intensive Care, http://www.newscenter.philips.com/main/standard/news/press/2013/20131024-Luminous-ceiling-from-Philips-simulates-daylight-to-comfort-critically-ill-patients-in-Intensive-Care.wpd#.UoPhB_mtmSo
Bioscience Technology, Tiny Devices Can Shine Light on Brain Disorders, http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2013/11/tiny-devices-can-shine-light-brain-disorders#.UoY5bhqtmSq
We’ve touched upon innovative uses of LEDs and research into the benefits of LEDs with cows and bees, but there’s news that LED lighting can cost effectively improve the growth of greenhouse tomatoes and a start-up is working on affordable LED lighting to help small farms increase egg production in chickens.
According to the USDA, the U.S. is one of the world’s leading producers of tomatoes, second only to China. Fresh and processed tomatoes account for more than $2 billion annually. Fresh-market tomatoes (not the ones that are processed) are produced in every state, with commercial-scale production in about 20 States led by California, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee. The supply is seasonal depending on the weather.
Many producers grow tomatoes in greenhouses off-season, traditionally lit by very warm high-pressure sodium lamps. Researchers at Purdue University are looking into whether growing tomatoes under LED lights in the winter can significantly reduce greenhouse energy costs without sacrificing yield.
Perdue horticulture professor Cary Mitchell, interviewed in a Purdue newspaper, said the average tomato is shipped about 1,500 miles from warmer climates where they’re grown to cooler climates that cannot produce the fruit cost-effectively in the winter. According to Mitchell, the journey is costly because tomatoes are picked green and ripen during shipping, decreasing quality and flavor. In addition, the shipping distance adds cost and adds to the industry’s carbon footprint.
Mitchell and doctoral student Celina Gómez experimented with light-emitting diodes, which are cooler and require far less energy than traditional high-pressure sodium lamps used in greenhouses. According to the article, the researchers received the same yield – size and number of fruit – with high-pressure sodium lamps and LED towers, but the LEDs used about 25 percent of the energy of traditional lamps.
The goal of the research is to reduce costs to the point where local growers could compete with the tomatoes that are shipped from far-away places. Local tomatoes could be harvested vine ripe, would taste better and would boost local economies.
“The United States still imports one-third of its tomatoes from Mexico and Canada, as well as other countries,” Mitchell said in an interview with Purdue Agriculture News. “This technology could allow U.S. growers to create local jobs that shrink carbon footprints and produce better-tasting tomatoes.”
Finally, a small group of recent grads from of the University of California, Davis, formed start-up Henlight to develop a solar powered LED light for small scale egg farmers to light chicken enclosures. Scientific evidence shows that the amount of eggs a chicken will lay is strongly correlated to the amount of sunlight received per day.
Large-scale egg producers already use light to artificially boost egg production. For example, the spring and summer typically provides between 12-16 hours of sunlight per day giving poultry the necessary amount of light to reproduce (produce eggs). In the fall, the amount of daylight decreases along with egg production. This reduces a farmer’s income and access to nutrition from eggs. Henlight could bring this capability at low cost to small farms around the world . Henlight’s founders received a $10,000 prize as start-up investment to launch the product.
For Further Reading
Clearlysapphire.com, Benefits of LED Lighting for Cows and Bees, http://blog.clearlysapphire.com/?p=472
NPR Berlin, Increasing Egg Production On Small Farms: A Solution To The International Food Crisis?, http://nprberlin.de/post/increasing-egg-production-small-farms-solution-international-food-crisis
Purdue University, Agriculture News, LEDs reduce costs for greenhouse tomato growers, study shows, http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q2/leds-reduce-costs-for-greenhouse-tomato-growers,-study-shows.html
Now that the summer is nearly over (in the US), we thought we might take a look at some fun applications of LEDs including performance art, art turned into football replays, and fish bellies.
Eugene, Oregon-based fiber optic toy company Ants On A Melon, has turned LEDs into performance art. Founded in 2012, the folks at Ants On A Melon have developed an artistic platform designed to share interactive fiber optic artwork. Their LED performance art using jellyfish is just one example of what they can do with LEDs. You can see a video of the Jellyfish (pictured below) here.
The Dallas Cowboys new stadium, AT&T Stadium, is filled with art, including a new LED-based exhibit by LED artist Jim Campbell, “Exploded View (Dallas Cowboys) 2013.” Exploded View features 2880 LED’s that flicker and illustrate plays in LED lights. A renowned LED light artist, Campbell specializes in low-resolution images. From close up, the image is completely abstract, but from far away, the football play is recognizable. While we don’t have a video of this artwork, here’s a link to a video of Campbell’s Exploded View, Commuters.
Campbell’s artwork is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
While not performance art, the new LED art exhibit at Texas State University, San Marcos River in San Marcos, Texas, by public art designers Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock encourages interaction. Designed to celebrate the biodiversity of the San Marcos River, Fish Bellies enables students to sit inside, study or talk while touch controls allow them to adjust the color and saturation levels of the LED lighting inside.
For Further Reading
The Dallas News, LED artist has created the 50th piece in the Cowboys Stadium collection, http://www.dallasnews.com/entertainment/columnists/michael-granberry/20130427-led-artist-has-created-the-50th-piece-in-the-cowboys-stadium-collection.ece
Inhabitat.com, LED Fish Bellies Celebrate Biological and Human Diversity in Texas, http://inhabitat.com/led-fish-bellies-celebrate-biological-and-human-diversity-in-texas/
London and the world celebrated the birth of the latest heir to the British throne, Prince George Alexander Louis, in style with LEDs. A number of landmarks in London turned blue to celebrate the occasion and even a few outside of the UK turned blue in honor of the future king. For a video, go to this BBC story.
The 600 foot tall BT Tower used more than 500K LEDs for the announcement:
The famous London Eye ferris wheel turned red, white and blue:
The fountain at Trafalgar Square marked the occasion in blue:
Even the London Bridge turned blue:
Not to be outdone, North America celebrated too with Niagra Falls turning blue:
Toronto’s CN Tower:
Christchurch Airport in New Zealand turned blue too.
For Further Reading and Viewing
The BBC, Royal baby: London landmarks turn blue for birth, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23416932 (video)
The Daily Mail, The world turns a Royal shade of blue, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2374793/Kate-Middleton-gives-birth-Royal-baby-boy-landmarks-globe-illuminated.html
One of the world’s most renowned artists working with light, James Turrell, is transforming New York’s Guggenheim museum with LED light. The exposition, “Aten Rein,” opened on June 21 and runs through September 25. The exhibit, six years in the making, will transform the museum itself into an exhibit of light using LEDs.
Aten Rein uses LEDs to light the rotunda of the iconic architectural landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Turrell takes the natural light from the museum’s huge glass skylight and the museum’s unique shape to bathe the central rotunda area of the museum in a mixture of natural and LED light. LEDs illuminate the five rings of the rotunda in bands of changing colors. You can see how the column of light forms in the photo.
According to Turrell in a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, the name Aten Rein comes from the ancient Egyptian deification of light. During the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, the Aten became the principle god of ancient Egypt. Aten was the name for the sun itself. Turrell, world famous for his exhibitions in light, is also the subject of simultaneous retrospectives at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX and The Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA.
For Further Reading
Wall Street Journal, Iconic Museum Seen in a New Light, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324688404578543720866432566.html
The Architectural Record, James Turrell at the Guggenheim, http://archrecord.construction.com/news/2013/06/130620-James-Turrell-at-the-Guggenheim.asp
The New York Times, How James Turrell Knocked the Art World Off Its Feet, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/magazine/how-james-turrell-knocked-the-art-world-off-its-feet.html?ref=jamesturrell
The Lightfair International trade show and conference was recently held in Philadelphia. According to the organizers, LIGHTFAIR International (LFI) is the world’s largest annual commercial and architectural lighting trade show and conference. Sponsored by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD), the 2012 show had more than 24,000 registered attendees from 73 countries. It is clearly a big deal in the lighting industry.
Here’s a round-up of some analysis of LEDs at the show and a quick look at industry awards from LFI.
The engineers from Groom Energy made their annual trek to Lightfair and included an analysis of their trek in their blog. This year, they noticed a difference in the quality of light from LEDs on display. The light the LEDs on display put off was the more familiar, warmer light similar to the light put out by an incandescent. LEDs also got smarter with lighting controls evolved from being add-ons to being embedded. Jon Guerster, the author of the blog, speculates that California’s Title 24 that requires lighting controls may be a driver for all of the new smart lighting controls. Finally, the Groom Energy team found that LED fixtures no longer looked distinct like LED fixtures, but sported the familiar look of incandescent, HID and fluorescent fixtures from the past. Now, you can’t tell that there are LEDs inside.
The LED analyst team from IMS Research traveled from London to Philadelphia and posted an analysis about the show on their LED blog. IMS Analyst Jamie Fox noted that the show no longer featured that “Wow” moment. He said this is due to the relative maturity of LED lighting. The maturity and evolution of the LED market also led to two key observations from IMS.
According to Fox, there’s no clear winning sector in the American LEDs general lighting market. Fox and his colleagues were told by LED manufacturers that residential, retail, outdoor, hospitality and others all have a “significant” part of the pie but none of them dominates. This was supported by IMS observations of the product mix on the show floor. As for LED manufacturers, Fox noted that the “big three” — Nichia, Cree and Lumileds — are leaders in the American LED market and while global LED players like Samsung, Seoul Semiconductor, Osram and others play a role in the US, the “big three” are consistently mentioned as clear leaders in the market.
Finally, Fox noted that industry price decreases versus quality was an issue for many at the show. According to Fox, “there is a significant worry though, both from my own observations of product, and from show floor conversations, that it is becoming too much of a lowest price fight at the moment, and not enough advancement on quality.” Fox says low price may not ensure that a customer will be happy with the light quality from an LED bulb that doesn’t compare well to an incandescent bulb.
The LFI Innovation Awards program honored lighting vendors for innovation and design. Here are a few of the top winners:
- PHILIPS (BoldPlay): Most Innovative Product of the Year—the program’s highest award, recognizing the most innovative new product
- COOLEDGE LIGHTING (Light Sheet): Design Excellence Award—recognizing outstanding achievement in design
- DOW CORNING CORPORATION (Dow Corning® Brand Moldable Silicones): Technical Innovation Award—recognizing the most forward-thinking advancement in lighting technology
- PHILIPS (hue personal wireless lighting): Judges’ Citation Award—special recognition of an innovative product at the judges’ discretion
For Further Reading
Groom Energy, LightFair 2013: LED Lighting Is Warm, Smart and Looks Like What You Know, http://blog.groomenergy.com/2013/04/lightfair-2013-led-lighting-is-warm-smart-and-looks-like-what-you-know/
IMS RESEARCH, LED Blog, LEDs Continue to Evolve At LIGHTFAIR, http://www.ledmarketresearch.com/blog/leds_continue_to_evolve_at_lightfair
IDC Energy Insights reports that the industrial market for LEDs is picking up momentum as companies looking to build new “smart” facilities or retrofit old ones choose energy efficient LED lighting. Adoption of LEDs for industrial lighting is good news for the commercial sapphire market and others in the LED supply chain. More LED lighting means more demand for sapphire.
First, let’s start with some background. Warehouses are particularly fertile ground for LED lighting since instant-on LED lights provide virtually no cycle time compared to traditional industrial lighting sources like HID (high-intensity discharge lamps) along with lower lifetime costs (including maintenance), higher efficacy and local utility incentives among others.
For those who watched the recent Super Bowl in New Orleans, the HID lights may be familiar. After the electricity loss during the second half, the lengthy delay in the game – more than 20 minutes — was partially due to the cycle time of the HID lighting for the interior of the stadium. In a warehouse situation, HID cycle time becomes a big issue as no one wants to wait for the lights to cycle and as a result, many warehouses just keep the lights on, running up energy costs.
IDC Energy Insights research analyst Casey Talon commented in her clean energy blog that LED lighting and “smart building” will be the disruptive technology for energy efficiency over the next three years.
Talon highlighted two big announcements in early January 2013 that demonstrate the momentum of smart building with LED lighting. First, lighting leader Acuity Brands acquired Adura Technologies. Adura’s Zigbee wireless mesh architecture enables individual fixture controls for cost and energy savings. Secondly, Digital Lumens, a leader in the industrial lighting solutions market, announced new growth numbers and funding, that demonstrates the viability of the emerging smart building technology segment. The company secured a new round of $10 million in financing and reported a footprint of 500 ‘large-scale’ installations representing 150% growth.
She notes in the blog that “fundamentally this news demonstrates that end users are increasingly aware of the benefits of energy efficiency to both their bottom lines and corporate goals. The activity in these markets illustrates a growing acceptance of upfront costs to achieve longer term benefits.”
LED lighting combined with lighting control and management software offers the ability to track and manage the benefits of LED lighting. Wireless controls and analytics help building managers understand when to have lighting on or off when employees are present, measure “free” ambient light from outside to cut down reliance on lighting, and know when and where to adjust brightness in areas when high precision work is needed.
Using analytics already is paying off. According to one case study from Digital Lumens, Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services North America, a worldwide leader in helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul for Sikorsky, Eurocopter, AgustaWestland and Boeing helicopters, saved more than 72% on their annual energy costs with a Digital Lumens retrofit.
According to Talon, “If these early announcements are a signal, then 2013 may mark a tipping point in the smart buildings marketplace as customer awareness and investment begin to converge for broader adoption of intelligent energy management solutions.”
IDC Energy Insights, Illuminating the Smart Building, https://idc-insights-community.com/energy/clean-energy/illuminatingthesmartbuilding
Greenbiz.com, LED lighting gaining traction in commercial retrofits, http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2013/02/05/led-lighting-gaining-traction-commercial-retrofits