Sapphire Industry Watch – November 21

  • GERMANY: Mercedes-Benz plans LED headlamp advances – Just Auto: In order to boost light quality and increase night visibility, Mercedes-Benz plans to increase the number of LEDs in each headlamp from 24 to 84. With as many as 1024 pixels per LED, this will enable optimum illumination of the road at every speed and in all traffic conditions. In the near future, Mercedes-Benz plans to also incorporate an additional high range LED high beam into its LED headlamps.
  • The end of Edison’s light bulb– Tech Central: Unlike incandescent light bulbs, LEDs can do much more than simply light up a dark room. With the development of smart lighting technology, LEDs can now be programmed and controlled wirelessly through smartphone apps which can make them even more energy efficient. When they were first developed LEDs struggled to provide the same light output as incandescent bulbs, but recent advancements have allowed them to catch up. The energy savings and extended life of LEDs is spelling the end for Edison’s light bulb.
  • Fujitsu tech enables LED-lit objects to transmit data to smartphones– gizmag: Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a system that enables RGB LED-lit objects to convey data to a mobile device. When running the proper software, the smartphone can detect the code in the light being rapidly displayed on the object and respond by displaying informational content, navigating to a website or doing whatever else is stipulated.
  • National Gallery goes green with lighting overhaul– By combining the use of LED lighting with a system that automatically adjusts external roof blinds, the United Kingdom’s National Gallery has become one of the first public buildings in the world to achieve 85% energy savings on lighting. In addition, to protect paintings from light damage, a control system has been integrated into the Gallery’s building management system that augments natural light coming through the building’s skylight by adjusting the output from LEDs.

Sapphire Industry Watch – November 14

  • BMW develops street lights with electric car-charging sockets – Reuters: German luxury car maker BMW has developed two prototype “Light and Charge” street lights equipped with sockets to charge electric cars. A pilot program to test out the street lights, which combine LEDs and BMW’s ChargeNow recharging stations, is set to launch in Munich next year using existing local authority lighting networks. Drivers will be able to pay to charge their cars through a mobile phone app.
  • Christmas lights world record attempt taking shape in Canberra– The Canberra Times: Well-known for his extravagant light displays every Christmas, this year Australian David Richards seeks to break the Guinness world record for the largest LED light image display. Opening on November 28 at Petrie Plaza in Canberra, Australia, the massive light display will feature 110 kilometers of string lighting with an LED light every 10 centimeters. The current Guinness record is held by an Uzbekistan energy plant with 1,012,840 lights.
  • Guest Commentary: Sapphire Substrate Advances Lead To Bright LEDs at Lower Costs– Solid State Lighting Design: Akhtar Zaman, Senior VP of Quality SLM for Rubicon Technology, explains how the trends toward Patterned Sapphire Substrates (PSS) and larger-diameter sapphire wafers are facilitating greater light extraction efficiency and more efficient LED chip manufacturing.
  • Radar-Enabled Light Bulbs Automatically Detect When the Elderly Fall– Gizmodo: A Japanese company has developed a pair of LED light bulbs featuring built-in laser-based radar that has the ability to track the movements of someone within 26 feet of its vicinity. Invented to help keep a closer eye on the elderly, the light bulbs automatically send alerts when they detect a person has fallen or suddenly stopped moving. They can also intelligently process data to determine if someone has fallen or just simply fallen asleep.

How LEDs Have Influenced Design

Illuminating everything from the ceiling frescos in the Sistine Chapel to the iconic arch at Wembley Stadium in London, LEDs are bringing a fresh new style to interior and exterior design.

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.

Leica Headquarters

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.

Sapphire Industry Watch – November 7

  • LED bulb efficiency clearly pulling ahead of compact fluorescents – Ars Technica: A new generation of LEDs with the energy efficiency of nearly 100 lumens per Watt hit the market in 2014. Compared to the energy efficiencies of compact fluorescent, roughly 60 lumens per watt, and incandescent bulbs, 15 lumens per Watt, LEDs are clearly pulling ahead as the most economical lighting choice for most users.
  • Sydney Opera House lights up Concert Hall with new lamps after first major upgrade – ABC News, Australia:  The Sydney Opera House received an award-winning lighting upgrade involving 355 custom-made LED lights, which are guaranteed to last 50,000 hours each. As one of the most high-profile performance venues in the world, the scale of LED coverage creates a unique performance environment. This is the first major upgrade to the theatre’s lamps in the building’s history and is predicted to cut the Concert Hall’s power bills by 75 percent.
  • LEDs light up NYC for the Empire State Building Halloween light show – Mashable: The Empire State Building hosted its second annual Halloween light show the night of October 31, programming colorful lighting changes and animations to sync to songs such as “Monster Mash” and “Ghostbusters”.  The building’s 1,200 LED lighting fixtures begin on the 72nd floor and continue up the mast. The LED fixtures were installed in late 2012 and the Halloween light show was designed by world-renowned lighting designer Marc Brickman, who also designed the building’s Halloween show in 2013.
  • Global LED market ‘could hit US $25.7bn in 2015’ – Want China Times: Industry research center LEDinside predicts the value of the global lighting market will reach $82.1 billion in 2015, $25.7 billion of which will be made up of LED lighting. The LED market penetration rate will reach 31% next year. Europe is anticipated to have the largest market stake with 23 percent of worldwide LED lighting, followed by China at 21 percent and the United States at 19 percent.

Sapphire Industry Watch – October 31

  •  An Imperial Honor – The UC Santa Barbara Current: After recently receiving the 2014 Nobel Prize for Physics for his invention of the blue LED, UC Santa Barbara professor Shuji Nakamura has now also been selected to receive the 2014 Order of Culture Award.  One of Japan’s highest honors, the Order of Culture Award is a significant acknowledgement of Nakamura’s invention, which made white LEDs a reality and opened the door to affordable, energy-efficient lighting.
  • Glowy Zoey: the LED stickman costume that’s lighting up the internet– The Telegraph: This time last year, 22-month old Zoey became an Internet sensation after her father, Royce Hutain, posted an irresistibly cute video of her in an LED stickman Halloween costume. This year, Hutain has launched an online business to sell the LED costumes, which have been manufactured into several different sizes and stick figure outlines. You can even purchase the same Minnie Mouse suit Zoey wore for a recent trip to Disney World.
  • Turtle-friendly lighting project set for Pensacola Beach– Santa Rosa’s Press Gazette: After launching a project one year ago to brighten U.S. Highway 98 with efficient LED lighting, Gulf Power now aims to complete a turtle-friendly lighting project that will reduce light impacts on wildlife while also improving the lighting around Pensacola Beach, Florida. The project aims to reduce ambient light that can impact the sea turtles’ ability to make their way to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Everything you wanted to know about LEDs but were afraid to ask– Fortune: Since the energy crises of the 1970s, researchers have introduced many lighting options more efficient than the incandescent light bulb, however, none compare to the LED. LEDs have come to dominate the market at a pace which has surprised people inside and outside of the lighting profession. After Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura invented the blue LED, which led to the creation of white LEDs, the lights became ubiquitous and now appear everywhere from traffic signals to computer screens to table lamps.
  • Ornamental plant seedlings grown with LED lights at Purdue – Purdue University: Researchers from Purdue University have successfully grown ornamental plant seedlings indoors using red and blue LEDs as the sole light sources. The findings from their research have led them to test whether production time can be reduced by using more colors. The goal is to help the plants flower faster for sale to consumers.