This week: a Philips Hue review, LEDs keep ground beef red longer, and a followup on airports and LEDs.
‣‣ Airports, the FAA, and LEDs
We have written about the difficulties LED technology is facing as it breaks into the highly regulated world of aircraft and airport lighting. Now Aviation International Online brings us up to date with the FAA's actions over the last year, and earlier reports from pilots about overly bright LED runway, taxiway, and airfield marking lights. These are not the landing lights we were concerned with in earlier blog posts; those are being tested now in only a single airport at Atlantic City. LED-based marking lights have been installed in a number of airports since 2006. The core of the complaints has been that even when run at their dimmest setting, LED marking lights are bright enough to dazzle dark-adapted eyes and are "a big human-factors event waiting to happen," as one pilot put it.
The FAA has responded with standards that will require controls that give five levels of brightness for these lights, instead of the earlier three levels. And the agency is developing an LED flight-test plan that it says will be comprehensive.
‣‣ The first LED-lit MLB ballpark
The stadium where the Seattle Mariners play baseball, Safeco Field, will be the first MLB ballpark to use LED lights, reports King5.com. The ball club is replacing 600 HID lights with LEDs from local company Planled, which has already helped Boeing to retrofit several of its buildings to SSL.
In the video at the above link, Planled's CEO says he expects the lights to outlast the playing field itself. At the duty cycle of stadium lights for home games, he expects the new fixtures to be shining brightly for 50 years.
Earlier we reported on the growing use of LED lights in hockey arenas. The King5.com article notes that in addition a number of soccer, NBA, and NFL teams play under LED lighting; and in fact this weekend will mark the first LED-lit Superbowl.
‣‣ A Philips Hue review
The Hue system gets high marks in Mark Gibbs's "Gearhead" column in Network World. The reviewer called Hue "by far the best premises automation system for lighting I've tested so far." Gibbs praised the dead-simple setup and the openness of Hue, writing about a feature I hadn't been aware of: "The [WiFi-to-ZigBee] bridge actually provides an interactive form to test and execute any of the [API] commands it supports." (Disclaimer: a subsidiary of Philips sponsors this site, and Mark Gibbs is an acquaintance of mine.)
‣‣ LEDs keep ground beef red longer
LEDs began making early inroads into lighting supermarket refrigerator and freezer display cases. SSL's obvious advantages in these applications include their preference for cold operating conditions, which are hard on fluorescents. Now researchers at the University of Missouri have added another advantage: ground beef lit by LED light stays red a third longer. Hamburger under fluorescents begins to brown or turn grayish within 3 days; the LED-illuminated meat is good for 4 days. That extra shelf life is worth millions to supermarkets.
The researchers don't know what is behind the extended lifetime under LEDs. My bet is that it has to do with IR and UV light, one or the other or both, which are absent from LEDs' spectra. We'll see what further studies reveal.
— Keith Dawson , Editor-in-Chief, All LED Lighting