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.
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.
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.
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
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…
“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?
It has taken 7 years but we are now here. On January 1, 2014 both the 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent light bulb will no longer be produced as a result of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) signed by President George W. Bush. In years past we have lost the 100-watt and 75-watt. However, this next phase will probably have the biggest impact. Why? Simple. The 60 and 40-watt light bulbs are the most popular. According to Residential Lighting, they represent over 50% of all light bulbs used today.
We have been covering the incandescent phase out on this blog for the last couple of years. However, as a reminder, a primary goal of this law is to raise appliance and lighting efficiency standards.
The 60 and 40-watt light bulbs will not just vanish into thin air on January 1, 2014. You will probably still see them in stores for a couple of months. The key is that as of 1/1/14 they can no longer be imported into or manufactured in the United States. (more…)
Is there a better way to kick off a lighting design awards show than to distribute glowsticks to the finalists for “experimentation”?
Well, we can’t think of one.
The photos below have been floating around on Twitter in anticipation of the 2014 Lighting Design Awards, a worldwide architectural lighting competition to be held in London on March 20. Leave it to the creative lighting professionals to craft a rainbow motif, an “alien landing” scene, and a dog collar – all from a box of glowsticks.
Photos: Innovation – @havellssylvania. Glowstick Art #1 – @zanocontrols. Alien Landing – @zanocontrols. Finalist Glowsticks – @iGuzziniUK. Glowstick Art #3 – @zanocontrols. #LDA 2014- @lightingmag. Dogs with Glowsticks – @lucentlighting
Which would you vote for?
Follow @LDA_2014 and @iGuzziniUK on Twitter for more, and check out a shortlist of the finalist projects and products for the 2014 Lighting Design Awards here.
Tonight from 8-9 p.m. ET, NBC will air the live broadcast of the Rockefeller Center holiday tree lighting! We are excited to tune in. A few fun facts about this year’s tree:
- This year’s Norway Spruce is 76 feet tall and 47 feet in diameter.
- The tree was donated by a family in Shelton, Connecticut – it grew in their front yard for 20+ years.
- 45,000+ LED lights were strung to decorate the tree.
- A 9.5 foot wide LED-lit Swarovski crystal star tops the tree.
The show will feature performances from Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Goo Goo Dolls, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Ariana Grande, and Jewel. Check out the size of that tree!
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.
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. (more…)
The lighting industry has been busy as ever this month, from the slow-climbing successes of LED adoption to the discovery of new galaxies. Have you kept up? Allow us to offer a taste…
In Lighting News…
“LED Lighting Creeps Toward Tipping Point”
It’s only a matter of time before LEDs make serious headway into the retrofit market. Forbes predicts that by 2021, LEDs will make up approximately half of all retrofits in a market where they currently only make up about 5%. Read more…
Cree Announces Dim-To-Warm LED Lights
Durham, N.C.-based LED manufacturer Cree has just announced that they are adding a dim-to-warm option in their LMH2 LED module family of lamps. This is significant because although LEDs are better at dimming than fluorescents, they do not inherently change colors as they dim like an incandescent. But now incandescent lovers can enjoy the warming colors of a dimming incandescent without all the wasted energy. Read more…
“Glow-In-The-Dark Paths Could Be The Future Of Street Lighting”
A park in Cambridge, England has tried out an unconventional method to lighting the paths at night: glow-in-the-dark gravel. Known as Starpath, this resurfacing material is able to absorb ultraviolet light during the day and release it at night in a bluish glow. Read more…
If you’re considering a switch to LED lighting in your commercial building, but you’re still on the fence, you shouldn’t hesitate for too long. After December 31, 2013, two primary tax incentives for upgrading your lights are set to expire – the Section 179d EPACT Incentive and the Bonus Depreciation Incentive.
If you’ve never heard of these opportunities to help make up for the initial cost of new LEDs, allow me to explain…
The Section 179d EPACT Incentive allows you to deduct 60 cents per square foot on lighting upgrades. This incentive is part of The Energy Policy Act of 2005 to encourage the construction of energy efficient buildings. It also includes deductions for HVAC systems, building envelopes, and service hot water systems that reduce the total annual building energy costs by 50% or more compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2001 minimum requirements. It’s available to owners of both new and existing commercial buildings. (more…)