Feb 242014
 

A recent TedTalk about LED lights has garnered about a million and a half views. That high number isn’t surprising, given that LEDs have been making headlines a lot, lately. Tons of informational articles about the efficiency of LED light bulbs and how to choose them have been circulating online. But this TedTalk is about something quite different – data transmission.

120927061206 harald haas lifi story top LEDs Transmit Data

via www.cnn.com

The talk was given by Harold Haas, Chair of Mobile Communications at the University of Edinburgh, who coined the term LiFi, or light fidelity, to refer to a visible light communications (VLC) system. LiFi uses LEDs, which, of course, are electronic semi-conductors, as a medium to deliver networked, mobile, high-speed communication.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 24, 2014 at 11:27 am
Jan 152014
 

When you step to the edge of the Grand Canyon, or take a gondola across Niagara Falls, or look over any natural abyss or up any colossal structure, well, there’s a certain thing that happens. Invoking Keanu Reeves and Joey Lawrence at once — an admirable feat itself — I call this feeling the whoa moment.

It’s that weightless feeling we get when we walk into a huge cathedral or behold a haunting religious painting or painted sarcophagus, things that make us say, Whoa! Seriously. Is this fo’ real?

 The Science of Whoa

Yesterday morning, on the front cover of its morning edition, The New York Times published a photo of a 1,500-year-old Buddhist relic held in the National Museum of Afghanistan, a museum that was devastated by the Taliban in 2001. One can only imagine how it must feel to behold this relic in person, to breathe the air of it. Its age, its spiritual significance, its stunning composition, its serenity, and even the story of the danger it survived in 2001, all help create an aura around the object. The thing has gravitas. Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 15, 2014 at 10:00 am
Jan 082014
 

They say no two snowflakes are alike.

These incredible photos from Alexey Kljatov prove it and reveal the awesome beauty of each one:

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The crazy thing is (as if the photos aren’t mind-blowing enough!), Kljatov took these photos with an old Canon point-and-shoot camera off his balcony in Moscow. He jerry-rigged a lens to the camera and taped the entire contraption to a piece of wood so the shot would be steady.

The snowflakes landed on a glass plate and he illuminated them with an LED flashlight from the opposite side. That’s right – no fancy studio lights or umbrellas, just a simple LED flashlight. Read more about his technique or see his Flickr page for more photos.

 

Dec 302013
 

Light Bulb Question Mark Green Where Did the Phrase Go Green Come From?

“Going green” has come to symbolize environmentalism in such a familiar way that most of us don’t think twice about who first coined the phrase.

I was curious about the origin of the term and wondered what made it take such strong hold in the English language. Speaking of curiosities, remember Heinz’s food flop several years ago when they decided to go green (literally) with ketchup? Glad that didn’t take hold.

Most people associate the beginning of the green movement and environmentalism with the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in the 1970′s.

Surprisingly, it dates back even further, to Henry David Thoreau’s writings in the 19th century. Thoreau spoke about living a “green” life in The Maine Woods in his call for conservation, forest preservation and respect for nature. You are probably familiar with several of Thoreau’s famous inspirational quotes (i.e., “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” or “What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us”). His greener remarks include:

What is the use of a house if you don’t have a decent planet to put it on?

This one’s my favorite (Thoreau, you were a funny guy!):

Beware of all enterprises that require a new set of clothes.

Did you have any idea the U.S. “green movement” was rooted in early American philosophy?

 

 Posted by on December 30, 2013 at 10:01 am
Nov 202013
 

We’ve seen LED rope lights transform a living room cove ceiling, illuminate a staircase handrail, and accent outdoor decks and patios.

Sure, this light source lends itself to unique and creative applications: it’s completely flexible, easy to install, and truly eye-catching. We’ve been wowed in the past, but DIY’ers are now taking LED rope lighting to places we’ve never seen before. Clearly, there is no end to the creative uses for this light source!

1. Word Wall Art in a Playroom:  This homeowner created an inspiring word art installation on the wall of her son’s playroom. She used the screw-in mounting clips that come with the product for wall hanging.

One great tip for a project like this is to place weights (or other heavy objects) on top of your rope light to shape it properly. Often our customers say that rope lights tend to hold their coil from packaging for a little while; this will help accelerate the uncoiling.

lit create sign night 3 Ways DIYers Are Redefining Rope Lighting

Image via www.prettyhandygirl.com

Continue reading »

 Posted by on November 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm
Nov 072013
 

We wrote an article a few years ago about “li-fi,” an up-and-coming technology that uses light bulbs to transmit a wireless signal. This technology has come a long way since then, and today it’s one of the craziest (and coolest) innovations in the lighting industry! Scientists across the globe (primarily in the UK and China) have been developing this lighting-based data transmission, which could revolutionize the way we connect to the internet.

bigstock LED1 Are Light Bulbs Taking Over the Internet?

Conventional wi-fi is emitted using mirowaves or radio frequencies. The great conundrum of physics is that light travels both in particles and waves, a property which also makes it compatible with wavelength data transmission. Although li-fi has been in development for some years now, the most notable recent accomplishment belongs to Chinese professor Chi Nan, who managed to construct a DIY lighting-based data transmitter from basic retail components. Continue reading »

Oct 092013
 

LEDs are at the forefront of light industry discussion because they are such a gamechanger when it comes to energy efficiency and lifespan. But how do recent developments to LED technology affect the everyday consumer? What’s the simplest way to navigate this uncharted territory when shopping for LED light bulbs? The very recent availability of an LED replacement for the common household incandescent lamp has created a world of new potential, and along with it a whole new set of standards. In this post, we will be discussing the various ways to distinguish between the different LED options.

FTC lumens chart 5 Ways To Choose An LED Light Bulb

image via lumennow.org

1. Light Output

Incandescent lamps have always been measured in watts, because for a really long time people equated the electricity it took to light a bulb with the luminosity it created. So “60 watts” came to mean “the brightness of a 60-watt incandescent lamp,” even though luminosity is measured in lumens, not watts.

With the introduction of more energy efficient lighting, however, this standard doesn’t work. It takes significantly less wattage to produce the same amount of light in an LED or fluorescent lamp, so it’s important for consumers to understand the luminosity of a bulb rather than simply its wattage.

Luminosity, or lamp brightness, is measured in lumens. The chart to the right demonstrates the amount of lumens a standard incandescent light bulb produces, so if you’re used to watts you can easily figure out what lumen count you want in your new LED bulb.

An LED lamp’s packaging or product description might mention how comparable its lumens are to the light output of a 60-, 75- or 100-watt incandescent bulb, but it’s wise to know ahead of time what luminosity you want just in case the incandescent watt-equivalent is not included.

Takeaway: Lumens are how the brightness of an LED light bulb is measured. You’ll choose your bulb based on how bright you want the light to shine, not by how much energy it will be using.

Continue reading »

Sep 252013
 

LED Light Bars Showcase 300x219 How To Buy LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Fluorescent)Fluorescent light bulbs are all the rage. Today, the majority of households in the U.S. have begun to adapt their lighting, exchanging inefficient incandescent light bulbs for energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These familiar spiral-shaped light bulbs hide under our lamp shades, within our ceiling lights, behind our wall sconces, and are quite pleasant to use. Often, you can’t even tell the difference between a classic incandescent and a CFL.

As incandescent lights become a thing of the past, and energy efficient lighting becomes more of a priority, the fluorescent lights have gained popularity.

Fluorescent lights use much less energy to produce the same light output as any incandescent lamp, and they last many times longer. Plus, improvements in fluorescent lighting technology have turned these lamps into a pleasant source to have around your home or work space. The cost upfront isn’t terribly more than an incandescent, either.

Presently, cost and technology make fluorescent lights and LEDs (light emitting diodes) rivals in the energy efficient lighting market. But it won’t stay that way for long. Lighting experts say that while fluorescent lighting technology has reached its peak, LEDs are still evolving and improving. Even now, manufacturers are coming out with new LED lights that surpass fluorescent technology in many different ways.

Let’s examine how fluorescent light bulbs compare with today’s LED light bulbs:

  • Efficiency: While both light sources are considered efficient, LED lights have pulled ahead. A CFL produces 30-50 lumens or light per watt, while an LED on the market today can produce 60-100+ lumens per watt.
  • Rated Life: LEDs and fluorescent lights also both have long rated lives, but again, LEDs win. A CFL can last between 6,000 and 15,000 hours. An LED can last between 25,000 and 60,000 hours.
  • Mercury: Fluorescent lights contain mercury, and LEDs don’t. While operating fluorescent lights on a daily basis won’t put you in danger, a broken light bulb will expose you to a small amount of this toxic substance.
  • Infrared and UV: LED light bulbs don’t emit infrared or UV radiation in the same direction they emit light, but fluorescent lights do. Thus, LEDs will not damage sensitive material, and they won’t attract bugs. Continue reading »
 Posted by on September 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm
Sep 232013
 

LEd Bedroom Lighting 300x300 Buying LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Xenon)In this post, we’re going to cover how LEDs can replace xenon lights.

Xenon light bulbs are a kind of incandescent lights. If you’re not a dedicated lighting nerd (like yours truly), you’ve probably heard of xenon in reference to car headlights – but they’re also great to use around your living space. They’re great as under cabinet lighting, puck lights, light strips, night lights, and more.

What makes a xenon light bulb different from a regular filament lamp is the small amount of xenon gas inside the glass envelope. The gas helps prolong the life of the light bulb, and makes it more efficient – producing more light with less energy.

Xenon lights also have the upper hand on halogen lights (another type of gas-filled incandescent) in a few different ways. They produce much less heat than halogens, and aren’t as sensitive. You don’t have to worry about touching them with your bare hands – the oils from your skin won’t cause them to fail prematurely.

So overall, xenon lights are pretty great. But they could be better.

While xenon lights are more efficient, longer lasting, more durable, and cooler than halogen and regular incandescent light bulbs, they still don’t beat LEDs. If you want to use lights with the longest rated life, that use the least energy, that are the most durable, and the least hot, it’s time to transition.

You’re probably thinking – what about looks? Sure, an LED looks better on paper, but what if it’s illuminating your counter tops? Xenon lights are notoriously good looking, so you need an LED that can measure up. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm
Sep 202013
 

LED Picture light 300x300 Buying LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Halogen)With LEDs, you have so many possibilities. Earlier this week, we published a post about replacing old incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. But, LED light bulbs are much more versatile than that. Their innovative construction makes them great replacements for almost any kind of light bulb.

In this post, we’ll cover how LEDs can replace halogen light bulbs. 

A halogen light bulb is an incandescent light bulb filled with a halogen gas. This gas within the light bulb’s envelope helps the light last longer and use less energy to produce light. There are certainly good reasons to use halogen light bulbs, but these lights also have their shortcomings.

Before we get into how to replace halogen light bulbs with LEDs, we need to understand the pros and cons of using halogen lights:

Halogen Pros:

  • Color Temperature: Halogen lamps emit crisp, flattering light, only slightly cooler than a regular incandescent’s color temperature. The added blue and green tones make a halogen light bulb appear whiter and brighter than the average incandescent.
  • Rated Life: These lights last longer than incandescent light bulbs. A halogen light’s rated life can range from 8,000-20,000 hours, while an incandescent usually lasts around 1,000-2,000 hours.
  • Efficiency: They’re more efficient than regular incandescent light bulbs, generating about 10-35 lumens per watt, compared to about 8-24 lumens per watt.
  • Color Rendering: Halogen lights have a CRI of 100, which means they render colors perfectly. This makes them great for display lighting, accent lighting, and more.
  • Dimming: These lamps still generate light with a filament, so you can use them with standard dimmer switches.

Halogen Cons: Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 20, 2013 at 11:30 am

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