Are we being LED to the future?
A look at LED’s
The good old conventional incandescent light bulb invented by Thomas Edison (Yes ok Warren de la Rue if you want to be fussy) is quietly and without too much notice creeping into our past. The new boy on the block is the LED (light emitting diode), and though it has been around for quite a while, the innovations in this technology recently have become commercially visible. Are we being LED to the future?
The focus on keeping the environment clean and saving energy has seen legislation in some countries like Germany to only sell from 40watt bulbs downwards because of the wasted energy in high wattage light bulbs. Of course we’re all aware of the energy saving bulb (Compact fluorescents, CFLs) which have had much promotion, but these bulbs have also been given bad reviews such as containing Mercury, not lasting as long as expected, producing poor light and slow at reaching the expected luminosity.
So, here’s where the LED comes in. LED’s have up to eight times longer life and can have considerably more energy saving properties, a full switch to the latest LED lighting would provide energy savings of up to 80/90% in many applications, they can be designed to be used in many environments, and they give off less heat. LED’s can also be built in clusters, so that if one fails then the others remain operating.
Philips a major lighting company state;
“The new range of LED bulbs demonstrates Philips’ leadership in LED technology. They are designed to emit warm white light similar to traditional lamps, with dramatic energy savings (up to 90% less energy consumption) and a lifespan of up to 25 years. Also recognizing that people have varied preferences in light tone, Philips has developed the unique DimTone feature that allows light to be adjusted simultaneously in intensity and colour, from bright to warm light, to create the ambience of choice by means of a dimmer.”
LED’s have been increasingly seen in car lights, torches, TV’s, watches, lighting strips and even Christmas trees. Below are some more unusual adaptations of this little light. But i can see many more serious innovations on the horizon in the future, especially when they become commercially available at low prices.
Solar powered LED car sunroof, where you can have direct sunlight shining through or switch on an array of LED’s to give a cooler light above.
LED light strips on a roll that can be cut and used in the garden, kitchen, bathroom and many more places where it would be difficult to install conventional lights.
LED wallpaper (yes wallpaper!). Where LED panels are fitted throughout a room and emit any colour you desire with no more painting and decorating.
LED Camping lamps, going are the days of refilling gas lamps where LED lamps are much safer and so inexpensive.
LED virtual sky’s, where clusters of LED’s are installed in office ceilings giving an open air sunlight feel leading to happier workers and therefore increased productivity.
LED contact lenses. There are on-going experimental designs of LED contact lenses in Finland, where they can give high resolution displays, applications would be from reading your Email to monitoring your blood sugar levels.
LED eyelashes, designed to make the eyes look brighter and larger and can be turned on/off by tilting your head.
So there you go! The LED is on its way, and in the future when you hear the shout “dad the bulbs gone!” the phrase will relate to the demise of our old friend the light bulb. My personal thoughts are that new innovations in lighting never really have that expected warmth of light that we’re all used to from the good old bulb and modern varieties have a colder more clinical light, will you miss the front room 60watt?