Dec 302014
 

IYOL 2015 Logo2015 is the International Year of Light, and while we openly admit to being obsessed with anything light-related, we also understand that the rest of the world may not share our level of amazement. (Okay, we really don’t understand it, but we’ve come to accept it.) So imagine our joy when the United Nations announced this global initiative to educate the world about “the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures and for the development of society.”

They could have done an International Day of Light, or even a month dedicated to light, but a year, folks. One. Entire. Year. Continue reading »

Nov 052014
 

using your tablet in bed bad idea

The conclusion of Daylight Saving time this past weekend means the night comes a little earlier. Logic may tell you that the longer and darker evenings will make falling asleep easier. However, even though the nights are longer we are also using smartphones, tablets and HDTV’s more and more in the 21st Century, particularly at night. Some scientists believe that Mr. Sandman has a new nemesis – the little blue light in all of these new-fangled devices.

What It Is

Naturally occurring blue light, a short wavelength in the light spectrum, is abundant in sunshine and hugely beneficial during the day when the majority of people need to be awake and alert. It’s been said to boost mood and increase attention span by stimulating sensors in the eye that then send signals to our internal clock. It also suppresses melatonin — a hormone produced by humans that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles — more than any other light wave. In fact, blue light is so efficient at suppressing melatonin that it’s often used to treat seasonal sleep disorders by mimicking the naturally occurring light of the sun. Here is where the problem surfaces — modern devices like high definition televisions, smartphones and tablets are massive producers of blue light. This blue light wreaks havoc on our circadian rhythms — our internal “body clock” that regulates 24-hour cycles, approximately — by basically tricking our brains into thinking it’s still daytime. Continue reading »

Oct 312014
 

Nobel Prize in Blue LED

For centuries man lit his night with an oil lamp that created only about 1/10th of a lumen per watt (a very small amount of light produced for the expenditure of a standard unit of energy). Then in the late 19th century the incandescent light bulb was invented and that eventually provided about 16 lumens per watt. In the late 1930s the fluorescent lamp became a reality and gave us an amazing average efficacy of about 70 lumens per watt. Now in the early 21st century still another revolutionary development is taking place – light emitting diodes (LEDs) are giving or will soon give us 300 lumens per watt. Think about the amount of change in the way we have lit our homes, offices, stores, factories, and streets in just the last 20-30 years. It is nothing short of astonishing and you can bet that more change is on the way in how we light the way we live. Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 31, 2014 at 10:00 am
Aug 142014
 
Smart LED Lighting

via blog.nxp.com

LED technology has been gaining a lot of steam over the past few years. In accordance, we have seen the prices of LED light fixtures and LED light bulbs decrease. Thrilling new projects involving OLEDs have tickled our fancies, and colossal displays of LED lighting – turning bridges into dragons, creating towers of kaleidoscopic light – have entertained us. But the most exciting developments in LED lighting fall within the realm of smart lighting.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on August 14, 2014 at 10:05 am
May 282014
 

Sunset

There’s a new LED light bulb in town. And it has been designed to help you fall asleep. Here’s the premise: Before we had electric lights, we adapted our sleep patterns to the rising and setting of the sun. But these days, many of us have completely lost touch with the natural rhythms of light and darkness. We stay up until the wee hours, our faces washed in the light of a computer or tablet screen, our eyes glazed over. We wake up to alarms, feeling perpetually like we haven’t gotten enough sleep. Sound familiar?

Continue reading »

May 132014
 

bright light

A couple months back, Medical News Today published an article on the effect of room lighting on decision making. Invoking crime dramas in which suspects are interrogated under bright lights, the report suggests that people tend to feel emotions more intensely in brighter light. This finding is significant not just for retailers but for anyone who consciously uses light in their spaces for a desired effect.

Continue reading »

May 082014
 

Recently, Digital Trends profiled a new product being developed by an associate professor of optics and experimental physics who works at the University of Insubria in Como, Italy. The professor’s name is Paolo di Trapani, and his work has a lot of people excited. For all the rapid progress that has been made with LEDs, no one else has made this important step towards recreating natural light.

Continue reading »

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.

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
Feb 062014
 

Below are five of the coolest lighting news items that caught our attention in January 2014, from Detroit’s big LED plans to a light-up bridge that looks like a dragon. Feeling slightly peckish? Here’s a light buffet…

1) Public Lighting Authority to install LED lamps in Detroit, cut installation period in half

via www.detroitnews.com

Detroit is redoing the public lights in all city neighborhoods. At a meeting on Wednesday, January 29, Mayor Duggan and the state-create Public Lighting Authority decided not only to use LED lamps exclusively, but also to speed up the process of relighting the city. Read more…

Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 6, 2014 at 12:23 pm
Dec 302013
 

Go Green?

“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