This post was written by Keith Dawson for UBM Tech’s community Web site All LED Lighting, sponsored by Philips Lumileds. It is archived here because the All LED Lighting site has gone dark. This material is Copyright 2013-2015 by UBM Americas.

2013-09-20

Future of Light

Consulting company PSFK, with sponsorship from Philips, has produced an inspiring look at what people are doing with light to improve lives.

The report, The Future of Light, is available as a free download (zipped PDF, 54MB). It is also provided as a free app for iOS or Android. (Note that Philips, which sponsored the report, is also this site's sponsor.)

PSFK organizes its look at the forefront of light into four "macro themes": luminous relationships, illuminated expression, enlightened communication, and light for life. For each of these PSFK pulls out three trends. The projects, products, and concept pieces comprising the bulk of the report are 48 case studies, four for each of the 12 trends thus identified.

Here are a few of the projects and creations that caught my eye. (Not all of the case studies involve LEDs, but the majority of them do.)

Hue Ambify: page 57 in the report. This is a third-party app written for the Philips Hue connected lighting system. It modifies ambient lighting in synchrony with music. I would like to know with what sophistication the algorithm analyzes the music to choose lighting variations in real-time.

Laser bike lane: page 82. This commercial product from XFire uses lasers to project a red bike lane onto the road around a bike rider. It is visible from up to a mile away, PSFK claims, even in the presence of ambient light or automobile headlights.

PoolLiveAid: page 100. This is an augmented reality project by researchers in Portugal. The system keeps track of the positions of balls, cue stick, and table. It "is able to continually show the ever changing path the cue ball is expected to travel based where the player is aiming, while taking into account the positions of the other balls."

Dragon Bridge, Da Nang: page 50. This bridge's 1,964-foot (599 m) continuous steel arch is illuminated as the body of a dragon. Head and tail hold down the two ends of the bridge. The dragon is illuminated by 2,500 Philips LEDs. (The report doesn't say so, but I assume these are from Philips Color Kinetics.) The dragon is capable of breathing out displays of fire or water on occasions of sufficient ceremony.

Been there
I was interested in the number of projects featured in the report that we have previously covered here, including: the Bay Lights (p. 46 in The Future of Light), wind and solar-powered streetlights (p. 138), LED engagement ring (p. 32), the Empire State Building's LED lighting (p. 44), Philip Disney Hue products (p. 129), Philips's Community Light Centers in Africa (p. 134), and the Gravity Light (p. 140).

Sometimes it's good to get our noses up out of epitaxy, LED drivers, and heatsink design and get some perspective on the applications to which our work is being and will be put. PSFK's Future of Light report is 150 pages of pure perspective and inspiration. It's well worth the download and the time it will take you to peruse it.

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