Six recent innovations in lighting technology

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Lighting systems are essential because they provide the right amount and type of light where it is needed, whether used in commercial, industrial or residential spaces. Light industry has continued to experience growth since its inception.

Researchers and scientists are working to develop new light technologies for practical use. Modern systems are able to do more than just illuminate a given area. Some also serve as alarms, are remote controlled, or change color based on user preference.

Many new lighting products are designed to meet changing consumer needs. Here are six modern innovations in the industry.

1. Human-centric LED lighting

In the mid-2000s, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs became very popular with consumers. According to the US Department of Energy (DOE), an LED lights up when a electric current passes through a microchip and illuminates tiny light sources called diodes. The diodes produce heat, which is absorbed by a heat sink.

LEDs are ideal for consumers looking for energy efficient light bulbs because they consume 75% less energy than incandescents. A growing trend in the industry is LED-based human-centered lighting (HCL). HCL lamps mimic daylight and work with the circadian rhythm, which improves well-being and comfort.

HCL systems can even influence the physical and emotional state of occupants. They offer a wide and smooth color spectrum, improving the quality of the light emitted. Various buildings use LED lighting systems, including schools, hospitals, airplanes, and offices. Research shows that an LED bulb lasts about 20 times longer than an incandescent version, making it a worthwhile investment.

2. IoT smart lights

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a relatively new technology that describes physical objects with sensors capable of communicating with each other. IoT technology is growing, and major companies like AT&T, Verizon, IBM, and Microsoft are working to develop compatible systems.

IoT sensors are placed on physical objects to make them “smart” – lights are no exception. Smart lights are an essential part of the modern home, as homeowners can control them with their smartphones or tablets.

Smart lights can turn on and off with a sound or motion sensor, change color or dim based on user preference. A notable example of IoT smart lights is Amazon’s Alexa Smart Lighting. When we talk to an Alexa-enabled deviceowners with compatible bulbs can say, “Alexa, turn on my living room lights” or “Hey Alexa, turn on my blue light.”

3. Light therapy systems

Some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression which occurs during the cold, dark and short days of the autumn and winter months. These seasons tend to change mood and behavior. Light therapy is one way to treat SAD.

Light therapy devices emit certain types of artificial light that can potentially improve mood. However, it’s not quite understood why this happens.

Some experts say it’s related to the circadian rhythm, the eyes’ sensitivity to light, and the brain’s serotonergic system. There are many light therapy systems on the market that vary in size, brightness, price, and additional features.

4. Synchronized systems

You’re probably driving through your neighborhood during the holiday season and notice houses completely decorated with bright, colorful lights. You might find that a handful of your neighbors take their decorating to the next level by syncing their outdoor lights to music, creating an entertaining light show.

Synchronized lighting systems are popular during the holidays, but they’re also becoming a staple in the average homeowner’s living room. Philips Hue is a major player in the smart lighting market and offers a range of products to install in a home cinema.

You can watch a movie or play video games on your TV with Philips Hue lights that flash, brighten, dim, dance and change color based on the content on the screen. These synchronized lights aren’t the most affordable, but they create a fun, engaging, and unique viewing experience.

5. Natural Lighting Robot

Natural light is beneficial for several reasons, one being that it increases vitamin D levels in humans. Depending on the size of a home or the number of windows it has, it can be difficult for people to let natural light into their space.

A product on the market has been specially designed to solve this problem. The Solenica company has created Caia, a solar-powered, portable and economical robot that illuminates any space with real sunlight.

Caia a proprietary algorithm measures light intensity to determine the best angle to illuminate the user’s preferred area. According to the Solenica website, Caia provides 10,000 lumens of light, which is the amount of light emitted by 13 bulbs.

6. 3D Printed Lights

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, allows users to build three-dimensional objects from a digital file. It is most often used in modern manufacturing and more recently has become an essential tool to supplement the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, lesser known items that can be 3D printed are light bulbs and lampshades. Shades are easier to print, while bulbs require more knowledge of electronics and wiring.

Many beginner-friendly projects available online provide step-by-step instructions on how to 3D print a light bulb. One of the most popular 3D printed lights is an LED bridge light – the design files for this project were downloaded from Thingiverse over 27,000 times from June 2019.

Expect more innovations in the future

Consumers and businesses in all industries rely on lighting. Evidence suggests that it has a significant impact on humans in terms of physiology and psyche. It is fascinating to learn about new lighting technologies, and as the market continues to grow, it is expected that more futuristic concepts will make their way into the industry.

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Last updated August 10, 2022.

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