Monthly Archives: April 2013

New York Times: New Technology Inspires a Rethinking of Light

After the joy of the birth itself, parenthood sometimes brings the unwelcome news that a newborn has jaundice and must wear goggles and be placed under special lights. Imagine how different this experience might be if there were no goggles, just a warm blanket covering the tiny body, a healing frequency of blue light emanating from its folds.

That comforting scene, already a reality in some hospitals, is evidence of the fundamental rethinking of lighting now under way in research labs, executive offices and investor conferences. Digital revolutionaries have Edison’s 130-year-old industry, and its $100 billion in worldwide revenue, in their sights. Color, control and function are all being reassessed, and new players have emerged like a wave of Silicon Valley start-ups.

“This is the move from the last industrial-age analog technology to a digital technology,” said Fred Maxik, the chief technology officer with the Lighting Science Group Corporation, one of many newer players in the field.

Click here to read the full article

Written by: Felicity Barringer

Source: New York Times

Projection Mapping Installation on the Manhattan Bridge

This originally conceived video mapping project was a challenge offered to a group of artists from varying backgrounds. Led by digital arts pioneers Farkas Fulop and Ryan Uzilevsky, with post production support by Sina Taherkhani, the group created a one-of-a-kind experience. Adding to the fun were Artists Simon Anaya, John Parker, Richard Jochum and Johnny Moreno. The final projection utilized over 25,000 square feet of architectural canvas, and ultimately won “Best In Show” at the Dumbo Arts Festival.

Click here for the video

Source: Light Harvest Studio

LRC: Red Light Increases Alertness During “Post-Lunch Dip”

Acute or chronic sleep deprivation resulting in increased feelings of fatigue is one of the leading causes of workplace incidents and related injuries. More incidents and performance failures, such as automobile accidents, occur in the mid-afternoon hours known as the “post-lunch dip.” The post-lunch dip typically occurs from 2-4 p.m., or about 16-18 hours after an individual’s bedtime from the previous night.

A new study from the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute shows that exposure to certain wavelengths and levels of light has the potential to increase alertness during the post-lunch dip. The research was a collaboration between Mariana Figueiro, LRC Light and Health Program director and associate professor at Rensselaer, and LRC doctoral student Levent Sahin. Results of the study titled “Alerting effects of short-wavelength (blue) and long-wavelength (red) lights in the afternoon,” were recently published in Physiology & Behavior journal.

The collaboration between Figueiro and Sahin lays the groundwork for the possible use of tailored light exposures as a non-pharmacological intervention to increase alertness during the daytime. Figueiro has previously conducted studies that show that light has the potential to increase alertness at night. Exposure to more than 2500 lux of white light at night increases performance, elevates core body temperature, and increases heart rate.

Click here to read the LRC Press Release

Click here to read the article on Newswise

Ballast Bulb: A Household Lamp Powered by a Bag of Rocks

More than 780 million people rely on kerosene to light their homes. But the fuel is pricey and is toxic when burned—not to mention a fire hazard. In 2008, London-based product designer Martin Riddiford and his colleague Jim Reeves decided to create a cheap, safe alternative.

Riddiford knew a falling weight could produce enough energy to run a grandfather clock, so why not a light? To find out, he attached the crank of a wind-up flashlight to a bicycle wheel. He hung a weight from the wheel to cause it to spin; the wheel cranked the flashlight, and the device lit up.

Over the next four years, Riddiford, Reeves, and a small team spent their downtime between projects in a basement, refining the GravityLight. To use it, a person hangs the device and fills an attached fabric bag with up to 28 pounds of rocks, dirt, or other material. Lifting and releasing the bag steadily pulls a notched belt through GravityLight’s plastic hub; the belt spins a series of gears to drive a small motor, which continuously powers an LED for about 30 minutes.

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Written by: Amanda Tust

Source: Popular Science

Lighting Up the Night

I’m sure most of you have seen those beautiful images of Earth at night, including the latest ones from the Suomi-NPP Satellite. They’re a great illustration of how much of the planet’s surface we humans dominate.

But how is that domination changing over time in fast-growing Asia? That’s a question Christopher Small of the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory has explored using satellite data. The beautiful image at the top of this post is the result of his research. I’ll explain the details in a minute. But first, the overall findings…

As described in a paper Small published recently with a colleague in the International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, between 1992 and 2009, south and east Asia experienced an 18 percent increase in the number of spatially distinct lights, and an 80 percent rise in the lighted area.

For China and India specifically, the changes were even more significant. While the number of lights in both countries increased by 20 percent, the lighted area expanded by a whopping 270 percent. (China’s increase came later than in India.)

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Written by: Tom Yulsman

Source: Discover Magazine

Speed of Light Festival in Salford

Like human fireflies, more than 400 runners at Salford Quays were equipped with specially-designed light suits to light up the night sky with their perambulations. Organised by arts group NVA, last weekend’s Speed of Light project saw runners illuminate the canal banks, bridges and public spaces around The Lowry, IWM North and MediaCity UK.

LEDs were attached the joints, limbs and heads of runners, who created patterns of light as they moved around the quays at dusk.

NVA could choreograph the light show by remotely controlling the lights in each individual suit.

NVA head designer James Johnson worked with manufacturer GDS to develop the light suits, while creative director Angus Farquhar, choreographer Sharon Watson and lighting designer Phil Supple created the performance.

Speed of Light has previously been staged at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival and on the docklands of Yokohama in Japan, and was shown in Salford from 21-23 March.

Click here to read the article

Click here for the Speed of Light Festival website

Written by: Angus Montgomery

Source: Design Week

Innovative lighting technology helps illuminate lives

Electricity is taken for granted in industrialized countries where all it takes is the flip of a switch to light up a room. But for millions in developing countries, electricity is a luxury. LED lamps could spark change.

In industrialized countries, access to electricity is a given for most. It often takes a power blackout to make clear what a luxury a readily available source of power really is. According to the United Nations, some 1.5 billion people around the world suffer from “energy poverty,” meaning that they aren’t connected to electricity grids. That means they’re unable to cook or light up or heat their homes.

The sun provides the only source of light during the day, but not to all. Shanty towns in Manila, for instance, are often built so close to each other that they have no windows or natural light even in the middle of the day. But new initiatives are finding ways to brighten even the darkest huts. An organization called “Liter of Light,” for example, installs water-filled plastic bottles on a hut’s roof, and the “bulbs” refract sunlight throughout the home.

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Written by: Po Keung Cheun

Source: Deutsche Welle

Philips Lighting Exec: LEDs Have Made Us ‘Reinvent Ourselves’

Earlier this month, artist Leo Villareal flipped the switch on his public art installation featuring 25,000 LED lights strung across the Bay Bridge. For the next two years, the bridge will host a changing array of patterns and images created by the lights. The project has literally and figuratively brightened up the Bay Bridge, which has long lived under the shadow of the nearby Golden Gate Bridge.

Using lights to spark an emotional response isn’t new. The Eiffel Tower is famous for its yearly light show, for example. But LEDs are making it possible to control the movement and color of lights in very refined ways.

“You have thousands and thousands of points, and they all have simple rules, and somehow, something complex emerges. That’s really the art,” said Villareal, speaking to National Geographic about his program that controls the LEDs.

It’s not just people in the art world who are praising the value of the installation. Ed Crawford, CEO of Philips Lighting North America, sees it as a major turning point for the lighting industry.

“Up until now, light has been something we need to [use to] see,” said Crawford. “And now light is becoming something to make me feel a certain way. The exciting thing about LEDs is that they offer controllability where you can change color, change motion, and change the look and feel of a room, a bridge or a building.”

Click here to read the full interview and article

Written by: Stephen Lacey

Source: Greentech Media