Sapphire Industry Watch – January 23

  • Future looking bright for local ski hill – Wetaskiwin Times: Upon receiving a grant, the Gwynne Valley Ski Area in Alberta, Canada, has begun to install a new LED lighting system, complete with underground wiring to provide brighter and safer slopes for skiers and snowboarders. Although the winter weather has temporarily delayed the underground wiring portion of the project, six LED lights have already been installed to test the brightness of the lights and additional lights may be on their way.
  • Philly scientist working to help get astronauts a good night’s sleep – newsworks: Along with researchers at Harvard, George Brainard, a neuroscientist at Thomas Jefferson University, is working with NASA to develop new LED lighting systems that could help induce sleep for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. The system, which would replace aging fluorescent lights, is designed to help astronauts increase their average sleep time from less than six hours, to closer to the recommended eight.
  • LEDs Magazine announces finalists for inaugural Sapphire Awards– LEDs Magazine: LEDs Magazine has announced the finalists in the inaugural 2015 Sapphire Awards program for both enabling technologies and lighting products in the solid-state lighting (SSL) sector. The judges selected three to four finalists in each of 13 categories, naming Rubicon Technology as a finalist in the category of SSL enabling technologies for its large-diameter patterned sapphire substrates submission. Winners will be announced at a Gala on February 25, 2015 in Las Vegas, NV in conjunction with the Strategies in Light and The LED Show co-located events.
  • Race engine manufacturer installs LED lighting in California shop – LEDs Magazine: In an effort to better light its shop, Ed Pink Racing Engines has converted its Van Nuys, CA shop to an all LED lighting system. The system, designed by LEDtronics, provides clear lighting for the precise work that goes on in the shop and has also led to a 70 percent decrease in energy use over the previous fluorescent system. The team at Ed Pink estimates that the cost savings will pay for the conversion in 13 months.

Coming to a City Near You — LED Street Lights

From San Jose to Virginia Beach, antiquated street lamps are being upgraded to the latest and most efficient lighting technology — LEDs.

As major cities nationwide begin reaping the many benefits of converting to LED street lights, so too may your city.

Street LightPhoto Credit:

Energy savings 

As anyone who has been shopping for LEDs can attest, they generally have a higher initial purchase cost compared with traditional light bulbs. The same goes for the price of an LED streetlight over conventional sodium light. However, cities are making an up-front investment in LEDs in order to experience long-term benefits of the technology.

A two-and-a-half-year global pilot of LED street lamps across major cities found that LED street lighting can generate energy savings as high as 85 percent. The pilot program also revealed that in the United States alone, cutting the energy used by lighting by 40 percent would save $53 billion in annual energy costs.

But LEDs don’t just cut costs — they also reduce the carbon footprint in the surrounding area.

According to CCTV America, scientists estimate that 20 percent of the entire world’s energy is spent on light, 6 percent of which is accounted for by street lamps. The potential to save is enormous when you consider that going from a traditional lighting system to an LED lighting system can result in energy savings of up to 50 percent.

 Clearer skies and safer streets

Gone are the days of dim lamps that cast a yellowish-orange glow onto our roads, and in are the new, flat boxy fixtures that illuminate streets with white light.

Not only do LED lights give a more neutral-colored illumination to streets, but they can even take away the cloudy glow of city lights, bringing clarity to the surrounding architecture that makes each city unique.

The view from the freeway of New Haven, Connecticut, for example, is significantly more visible after the LED street light program was implemented.


Photo Credit: inspiredLED

In addition to enhancing the scenery, LEDs are helping to make streets safer.

New smart LED lighting systems that are being implemented in parks and cities with high crime rates, such as Coolidge Park in Chattanooga, Tennessee, have the ability to turn on automatically at dusk and off at dawn. What’s more, each light can be controlled remotely by police officers to better illuminate a crime scene or trail as a suspect is fleeing. 

Beyond the U.S. borders 

The development and adoption of LED street lamps is not just an emerging trend in the United States — it’s happening globally.

The Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab recently set up examples of the most advanced street lighting systems in the world at a small industrial park on the outskirts of Copenhagen so that city planners from around the world could choose the best performers for their municipalities.

All of the examples in the park were controlled by Wi-Fi management systems, and most contained motion sensors and LEDs. The Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab hopes to integrate cutting-edge smart lamps around the world, including light that is triggered by a car moving past a lamp post.

When cities incorporate intelligent lighting systems that manage each LED light post, there can be upwards of a 75 to 80 percent energy savings over traditional lighting systems, according to the chief technical officer at the Danish Lighting Lab, Kim Brostrom.

Recent breakthroughs in LED technology are leading to lower prices and increased availability. This is the spark that will bring LEDs to people and cities all over the world. As the new year begins, LED street lights are certainly a technology to watch in 2015.

Sapphire Industry Watch – January 16

  • Gilbert couple creates anti-collision device for motorcycles – East Valley Tribune: Designed to increase the visibility of motorcyclists on the road, Lightning Strike is an anti-collision system that flashes LED lights when the rider presses a button on his or her handle bar. The goal is to alert drivers that there is a motorcycle present. Along with the Lightning Strike, the company also offers the Flash Back which rapid-blasts light when the rider applies the brakes. Behind the business venture is a retired couple from Arizona who hope their products will decrease the number of vehicle collisions.
  • Ten Lighting Trends to Watch in 2015 – Novus Light: According to the IHS technology research team, 2015 could bring improved margins for major global lighting companies as well as lower product prices for consumers. Greater implementations of Li-Fi pilot projects, growth of the Chinese LED industry and larger city-wide smart street lighting installations are just a few of the predictions expected to happen within the lighting and LED industry in the coming year.
  • LED lighting market in Japan to grow at 17.73% CAGR to 2019 – Semiconductor Today: Technavio’s report forecasts growth in the LED lighting market in Japan at a CAGR of 17.73 percent  over the next four years. The LED lighting market is defined in the report by three application segments- automotive LED lighting, LED backlighting and general LED lighting- and the anticipated growth of the market is primarily attributed to the declining average selling price of LED light bulbs.
  • Empire State Building honors Ohio State title win – FanSided: The Empire State Building honored the Ohio State Buckeyes’ National Championship win over the Oregon Ducks by lighting up the top of the tower with the university’s colors, scarlet and gray. Made possible by LEDs, it is customary for the Empire State Building to light up in various colors to represent different events, holidays or causes.

Industry Watch — Sapphire at CES 2015

CES 2015 has come and gone and, as usual, we are left with an overwhelming amount of new and exciting products to sift through.

Don’t worry though! If you’re interested in all things sapphire-related coming out of the show, we have you covered.

Here are the biggest sapphire related unveilings from CES 2015:

  • CES2015: Hands On With Huawei’s Ascend P7 – Android Headlines: While Apple may have failed to incorporate sapphire into its new iPhone, Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has had no problem incorporating the material. During CES, Huawei showcased a variety of smartphones in its booth, including phones from its Premium “P” series. This included the new, Huawei Ascend P7, which features a 5 inch display and an optional sapphire faceplate. 
  • Garmin’s fēnix 3 Multisport GPS Watch Keeps Its Active Side Secret – Gizmodo: Garmin’s popular fēnix adventure watch is receiving a facelift this year to make the rugged timepiece look more polished. The third-generation watch is still fully capable with GPS and pre-set modes for various outdoor activities like swimming or skiing, but is now sleeker with a high-contrast color display and a scratch-resistant sapphire face. 
  • Wellograph, the first sapphire crystal wellness watch, gets a new look, more color choices – AppAdvice: The team that developed the Wellograph wellness watch announced an OS update, new color choices and straps at CES. The Wellograph, which is best known for being the first wellness watch to incorporate sapphire into its display, now offers a new OS which will provide users with features such as sleep tracking and body readiness testing. Along with the new features, the watch is now available in pink gold and white pearl.
  • Sony’s Life Space UX makes the smart home look good – Mashable: One of the most buzzworthy terms at CES over the past few years has been the Internet of Things. With beautifully designed devices and appliances, Sony’s Life Space UX gives just a peek at what the smart home of the future will look like. The highlight of the collection is the Symphonic Light, which combines an LED light with a clear glass covering that doubles as a speaker. The LED bulb, which uses sapphire substrates, makes this light not only attractive, but energy-efficient as well. The Symphonic Light streams music from a smartphone or other connected device, and multiple lights can be connected to fill a room with sound.Sony

Sapphire Industry Watch – January 9

  • The World Rings in 2015 – Net News Ledger: Proving again to be one of the world’s most extravagant New Year’s Eve spectacles, the Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala featured the “World’s Largest LED-illuminated Façade” along with a firework display and laser light show. The record-breaking display featured over 70,000 LED bulbs that took nearly 200 skilled professionals to set up.
  • 2015: The Year of the LED – Eco Tech Daily: Though LEDs have been around for decades, they are likely to trend in 2015 due to the huge reduction in manufacturing costs in recent years and enhancements to their lighting output. If adoption trends continue, LEDs are likely to see increased use in commercial and household lighting, street lighting car lighting and as a compliment to architecture in 2015.
  • San Jose begins installing LED street lights – San Jose Mercury News: As part of an effort to save money and make streets safer, the San Jose Public Works Department began installing LED street lights to some city streets during December. Each new lamp offers wireless control from a central location and can be dimmed. The costs of the LED lamps will be offset by a combination of energy savings and rebates from PG&E.
  • LED lighting improves strawberry quality and yield, say Wageningen researchers –Horticulture Week:  According to Dutch researchers, strawberries grown with supplemental LED lighting were found to be sweeter, more aromatic and “fruiter” while vitamin C content increased. In addition, researchers found that production increased by around 15 percent.