Duben 2013

The World's Top Contemporary Lighting Designers

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Earlier this month, contemporary lighting experts from Lightology went to Milan Design Week 2013 to uncover the latest trends at the biennial Euroluce International Lighting Exposition. Video interviews with some of the world's leading designers and contemporary lighting brands promise to wow industry professionals and lighting enthusiasts alike.

Founded in 1976 and held every other year, Euroluce is the premier lighting exposition at the international level. Euroluce is part of a larger group of design expositions known as iSaloni, which also includes the annual Internazionale del Mobile (International Furniture Exposition), among others.

In addition to exploring up-and-coming talent at the show, the Lightology crew interviewed tastemakers and design gurus from two dozen of the world's leading contemporary lighting brands. Viewers will enjoy Euroluce video portraits featuring top brands like Artemide, Axo Light, Flos, Foscarini, Kartell, Leucos, Moooi, Oluce, Swarovski and Terzani, among others.

Representatives from Residential Lighting Magazine, who accompanied the Lightology team for a portion of the interviews, announced that fans of Lightology's Dallas Market Interviews would find the upcoming Euroluce videos even more engaging.

Lightology Marketing Manager Fred Kern, who led many of the interviews, is impressed by the dedication and professionalism exhibited by all involved. "At Euroluce," Kern says, "there exists a tremendous sense of community and respect between manufacturers. They're doing what they do because they love it. They have such tremendous passion for lighting design-you can literally feel it in the air.

"It was so amazing to see so many fixtures infused with European art and style, and with palpable emotion. Regardless of how strange they may seem initially, all of the designs just make sense.

"It was an incredible experience, one I will never forget, and we hope to share that experience with our viewers."

Before the release of the Euroluce 2013 Video Interviews, viewers can browse Lightology's Euroluce Photo Gallery, featuring notable installations, progressive Light-Art and stunning decorative lighting fixtures from the world's leading contemporary designers.

The gallery also features photos from Moooi's off-site installation inside a rented warehouse, where high style and eclectic sensibility met with avant garde sensuality. The staged living quarters at via Savona 56, Milan, juxtaposed lavish, old world motifs with the clean lines of modern design to create an unforgettable setting that was the highlight of the exposition.

Those enticed by Lightology's Euroluce 2013 Photo Gallery will also enjoy the Lightology Euroluce Pinterest Board. Featuring imagery from a variety of sources in addition to their own photos, the board captures the visual essence of Euroluce from its origins to present day.

DENR-7calls on every Filipino

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 has urged the public to be watchful of one's carbon footprint as the rise of carbon emissions in the atmosphere will set off a greater global warming and thus resulting to climate change.

DENR-7 Regional Executive Director Dr. Isabelo Montejo said that if there is anything that we need to do very seriously and urgently, it is to reduce our individual carbon footprint.

Montejo made this call in celebration of Earth Day with the theme "Earth Day: Everyday, Everywhere for Everyone" last April 22.

Carbon footprint refers to the totality of the impact or effect of all activities done by an organization, group or individual on the environment.

It covers all greenhouse gases that each individual or organization may emit in the atmosphere as a result of its activities.

Montejo cited the garbage problem which remains to be a serious environmental issue among the local government units (LGUs) due to the methane released from open dumpsites.

He said a little contribution for the environment is very much welcome by segregating wastes from the source or at the household level and for every office to have properly-marked trash bins for biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes.

Methane is produced by the rotting of garbage in dumpsites. It is 21 times more lethal than carbon dioxide.

Reports indicate that the carbon footprint of the Philippines is equal to 0.8 metric tons per capita or 0.3 of one percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

While the country's contribution to the global gas emission may be very small compared with bigger or affluent countries, "this should not prevent us from adopting 'green' acts of either lowering or offsetting our carbon footprint," Montejo added.

"Reducing our energy consumption like turning off lights that are not in use, replacing all old fluorescent lamps with compressed fluorescent lamps (CFLs) which cut power consumption by up to 90 percent while getting the amount of brightness are some little acts of "green", he said.

Based on the 2008 "Philippines in Figures" published by the National Statistics Office (NSO), the most common appliances in the Filipino household are radio and television set.

Refrigerators, however, are the most "electric dependent" item in a household as it has to be plugged in 24/7. Air-conditioners, which have power ratings ranging from 400 to a whopping 3,500 watts, use also large amounts of energy. This household item is, however, not yet as a fixture in Filipino households as transistor radios, according to the 2008 NSO survey.

It could be recalled that then Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared April 22 as the "Philippines' Earth Day" through Presidential Proclamation No. 1481 amending Presidential Proclamation Nos. 553and 1276 making Earth Day a permanent environmental holiday in the Philippines.

LED lighting made cheap

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The latest LED lighting product to hit Kickstarter, Klauf Light Bars are semi-portable, low-cost LED strips which can be connected end-to-end more or less straight out of the box. They come in 6-inch and 12-inch (15 and 30 cm) lengths, which can be arranged as you like up to a length of 15 feet (or about 4.5 meters). They can either be slotted together directly or connected with cables, which is handy if you intend to install them under kitchen cabinets which extend around a corner (recommended), or make giant illuminating nunchaku (less so).

Usefully, the Light Bars plug directly into a socket. If you're looking for an LED system to install permanently, you might be best off hiring an electrician to escape trailing-cable syndrome, but, if you can see yourself needing to cart your new LED friend between your garage, your kitchen, your garden, and your desk, the semi-portability could be a boon. (In future, Klauf Lighting tells Gizmag it intends to offer 9- and 12-ft extension cables to plug into.) All the necessary electronics are integrated, so there's no hassle with external transformers or DC converters.

Also firmly in the Klauf Light Bar's favor is its warm 2,700-K color appearance, by way of a phosphor diffuser that absorbs light from the high-output blue LEDs inside at one wavelength, before belching it out at another.

And, as much as it pains me to type the words, perhaps best of all is the price. That's right folks, with the temporary starting price of just… Look, seriously, these things are going pretty cheap: $US55 for a 12-inch Light Bar, $45 for the 6-inch (and less, if by some miracle I finish this article in such time that the early bird offers haven't all gone.) There are two finishes: powder black and anodized.

On a cautionary note, though, as LED lights go, these aren't amazingly efficient. The 6-inch and 12-inch models emit 435 lumens and 210 lumens apiece, with a stated efficacy of 50 lumens/watt (though for the 9-watt-rated 12-incher, we make that nearer 48 lm/W). As a very loose comparison, see the 80 lm/W or more of current LED light bulbs. Note that in many cases, those bulb will end up inside a light shade, limiting its performance. Being the complete package, diffuser and all, the Klauf Light Bar has already made its compromises. Still, perhaps efficiency gains will be made in future models, should the product take root.

Klauf Lighting's Joseph Lee got back to us about efficacy, and his response makes for interesting reading. "This is a big, big thing… we state 9 watts because we meter it at the source," he said. "However, there is only a 6 watt driver in our fixture. Most other companies (all that we know of) will state "6 watts," due to the driver load, although their fixtures are really consuming 9 watts, due to the DC conversion process (transformer) and the load the driver IC and resisters, etc., require. So, I think it's more of a case of honesty and truth in advertising more than anything."

Philips bulb

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Philips is producing a bulb called Hue that fits into the old sockets and not only dims and brightens, but also changes colors on command. Mr. Crawford said that in his lamps division, 25 percent of sales income now comes from LEDs; he expects it to increase to 50 percent in two years. In 2008, that number was close to zero.

One reason adoption will speed up, Mr. Crawford believes, is that in recent years, consumers have been asked to compromise on quality to get energy savings. With the latest generation of LEDs, he said, "the consumer gets the energy savings without compromise."

The cost barrier is getting lower. Until recently, it typically cost $30 to buy an LED that could replace a 60-watt glass incandescent bulb bought for less than a dollar. Now Cree, a semiconductor manufacturer, has 40-watt and 60-watt LED equivalents for $10 and $14.

James Highgate, an expert on the new technology who runs an annual LED industry conference, sees a transition period ahead "for the next three to five years, until the eight billion sockets in the U.S. get filled" with LEDs. "Some people will never change," he added. "They'll be in the alleys buying 100-watt incandescents."

But a new poll done by the lighting company Osram Sylvania showed that fewer consumers were listing "burned out or broken" as the main reason for switching bulb formats. According to a company news release, "68 percent of Americans say they have switched lighting for increased energy efficiency."

Energy efficiency is only the beginning, according to experts on the lighting innovations. Take communication between lights. At the University of California, Davis, a bike path illuminated at night with a "just in time" system has one light node alerting another and another down the line as a bicycle goes by, progressively lighting the rider's way, then dimming back into an energy-saving mode.

Michael Siminovitch, director of the California Lighting Technology Center at the university, said that with the new technology "we're going to be able to create a variety of control features in terms of how we introduce points of light in space, but we're also going to be able to do it with planes and areas of light." For example, he said, there could be light-generating ceilings or walls.

Engineers like Mr. Maxik at Lighting Science are now imagining cities that light their streets as needed, without benefit of lampposts. He has created a fixture that could replace the reflective medians in highways south of the snow belt. Once installed along the road's centerline, they provide as much illumination as streetlamps. The metal and wiring that go into the streetlamp would be unnecessary.

Lighting Science has teamed up with Google to develop a light bulb - soon to be available - that is controllable with an Android phone app.

But just as it will take consumers a while to give up familiar light sockets for lights embedded in walls or ceilings, it is likely to take cities and their public works departments some time to give up their lampposts.

Recognizing this, other companies, like the newly renamed Sensity Systems (formerly Xeralux) are reimagining lampposts as nodes in a smart network that illuminate spaces, visually monitor them, sense heat and communicate with other nodes and human monitors.

In addition to such functions - which could raise privacy concerns, though perhaps less so after the Boston Marathon bombings - the new systems could sharply cut the cost of street lighting. The data could be sold to app developers who could create, say, an app to help find parking.

Cause of LED Efficiency Droop Finally Revealed

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Until now, scientists had only theorized the cause behind the phenomenon known as LED "droop" -- a mysterious drop in the light produced when a higher current is applied. The cost per lumen of LEDs has held the technology back as a viable replacement for incandescent bulbs for all-purpose commercial and residential lighting.

This could all change now that the cause of LED efficiency droop has been explained, according to researchers James Speck and Claude Weisbuch of the Center for Energy Efficient Materials at UCSB, an Energy Frontier Research Center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Knowledge gained from this study is expected to result in new ways to design LEDs that will have significantly higher light emission efficiencies. LEDs have enormous potential for providing long-lived high quality efficient sources of lighting for residential and commercial applications. The U.S. Department of Energy recently estimated that the widespread replacement of incandescent and fluorescent lights by LEDs in the U.S. could save electricity equal to the total output of fifty 1GW power plants.

"Rising to this potential has been contingent upon solving the puzzle of LED efficiency droop," commented Speck, professor of Materials and the Seoul Optodevice Chair in Solid State Lighting at UCSB. "These findings will enable us to design LEDs that minimize the non-radiative recombination and produce higher light output."

"This was a very complex experiment -- one that illustrates the benefits of teamwork through both an international collaboration and a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center," commented Weisbuch, distinguished professor of Materials at UCSB. Weisbuch, who is also a faculty member at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, enlisted the support of his colleagues Lucio Martinelli and Jacques Peretti. UCSB graduate student Justin Iveland was a key member of the team working both at UCSB and Ecole Polytechnique.

In 2011, UCSB professor Chris van de Walle and colleagues theorized that a complex non-radiative process known as Auger recombination was behind nitride semiconductor LED droop, whereby injected electrons lose energy to heat by collisions with other electrons rather than emitting light.

A definitive measurement of Auger recombination in LEDs has now been accomplished by Speck, Weisbuch, and their research team.

The experiment used an LED with a specially prepared surface that permitted the researchers to directly measure the energy spectrum of electrons emitted from the LED. The results unambiguously showed a signature of energetic electrons produced by the Auger process.

The results of their work are to be published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

This work was funded by the UCSB Center for Energy Efficient Materials, an Energy Frontier Research Center of the US Department of Energy, Office of Science. Additional support for the work at Ecole Polytechnique was provided by the French government.

University System's energy spending drops $9 million

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Spending on energy of all sorts within the University System of Georgia dropped $9 million from 2011 to 2012 - a nearly 7 percent decline, much of it due to equipment upgrades.

The system's $112 million budget for electricity, natural gas and coal benefitted from the installation of improved lighting fixtures and more efficient heating and air-conditioning units in various buildings across the system. Much of it was paid for with $27 million in federal stimulus funds. But the system is now regularly using its annual maintenance appropriation from the General Assembly for similar upgrades, according to Sandra Neuse, assistant vice chancellor for operations.

"We did a lot of lighting updates. That doesn't sound very exciting," she quipped. "It always surprises people because it doesn't sound like much, just changing lamps." Other upgrades include electronic thermostats and occupancy sensors on lights that turn them off when rooms are empty.

Georgia Southern University tried to get students involved with the savings. Volunteers roamed the dorms, swapping conventional light bulbs in personal study lamps with more efficient fluorescent bulbs. The University of Georgia and Georgia Tech even staged contests to award pizza parties to the dorms with the lowest energy use.

Such contests are one benefit of another upgrade, the installation of meters on individual buildings. Although the power companies centralize their meters at each school, the sub-meters allow administrators to monitor buildings separately, Neuse said.

"It's very difficult to know where to put your focus if you don't know where the energy is being used," she said.

That paid off at Armstrong Atlantic State University, where officials zeroed in on the science buildings. The culprits were the chemical hoods, fancy versions of what every home's kitchen has over the stove to suck out grease and fumes. Laboratories have hoods to draw away volatile vapors during experiments. The school won national recognition for installing variable-speed fans and tying all of the exhaust vents to a centralized stack.

It resulted in fans that only run on high-speed when needed, making for quieter classrooms and pulling out less warm air so the heating system doesn't have to work as hard. Lessons learned at Armstrong are being applied to the designs of future laboratories, Neuse said.

The University System's energy conservation drew applause from Seth Gunning of the Sierra Club of Georgia."I would congratulate them. I would give them a big thumbs up for that," he said.


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It has been penned by a design team led by MG's global design director, Anthony Williams-Kenny. The company says: "The MG CS oozes British design flair while embracing the sporting DNA of MG, an iconic brand.

"The headlights have a multi-faceted 'shard' structure which refracts light in different colours and shape from the side, but coalesce to form the iconic MG's trademark octagon from the front."

I'm sure that makes more sense in the flesh than it does on paper.

Kia plans to be in the top five UK best sellers before the end of this decade, selling 100,000 cars a year, up from an expected 70,000 this year.

Paul Philpott, president of Kia UK, says: "Our growth will not depend on the UK market growing. We will get there because we have the right products."

Kia UK sold 19,204 vehicles in the first three months of 2013, up from 17,211 in for the first quarter of 2012.

Audi's new SQ5 high-performance SUV - the first diesel-engined car to wear Audi's sports-derived "S" badge - is available to order now. Start your bidding at 43,870.

The SQ5's 3.0-litre engine uses two turbochargers to boost power to 311bhp and a tugboat-rivalling 480lb/ft of torque. Best of all, it doesn't even sound like a diesel. We know this, because we've already driven it.

Power is fed to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which can be tweaked, along with throttle response, suspension stiffness and steering weight, to suit the driver's mood. The 0-60 time is five seconds, top speed is limited to 155mph and, as long as you don't go mad with all that power at your disposal, you'll see 41.5mpg at the pumps, Audi says.

tHE latest version of the Volkswagen Golf GTD is now available to order in the UK, with prices starting at 25,285. The new GTD is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine with 182bhp. Maximum torque has risen from 258 lbs ft to 280 lbs ft from 1,750 rpm. Acceleration from 0-62 mph takes 7.5 seconds, and the top speed is 142 mph.

Despite the performance hike, VW is promising 67.3 miles for every gallon of fuel and CO2 emissions of 109 g/km. Plump for the optional six-speed paddle-shift automatic and fuel consumption is 62.8 mpg and CO2 is 119 g/km, exactly the same as 2007's much-less-potent first-generation Golf BlueMotion.

Standard GTD goodies include smoked LED rear lights, bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, chrome tailpipes, 18-inch alloy wheels, side skirts, a rear diffuser, sports suspension and a roof spoiler. Inside, there are tartan sports seats, sports steering wheel, and stainless steel pedals.

FIAT is wooing sporty young things with this limited-edition Punto. For 12,000, you get a three-door Punto with a 77bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine, black metallic paint with matt black stripes and 17-inch alloy wheels. Other kit includes body-coloured rear spoiler and side skirts and sports suspension. Only 300 examples will be built.

Students Launch Fund for Green Projects

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A student-run website launched last week will connect sustainability projects on Harvard's campus to potential donors, paving the way for green improvements to University facilities, including LED lights in the Quad and a new dishwasher for Cabot Cafe.

Through a grant from the University's Sustainability Office, three Harvard affiliates-Seth Berger, student at the Extension School, Sachin Desai, third-year student at Harvard Law School, and Nicholas Morris, MBA candidate at Harvard Business School-developed Project Green Campus.

An idea conceived in Harvard's Innovation Lab, an initiative in Allston designed to facilitate innovative entrepreneurship, Project Green Campus is a platform that will allow alumni, students, and other University affiliates to donate money that will then be used to fund environmentally friendly projects, from both the Sustainability Office's backlogs and student-led initiatives.

Desai said that the idea of targeting young alumni is based off of initiatives that alumni started while students at Harvard. In 2008, the University pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent below 2006 levels by 2016.

"That generation of people who made the greenhouse gas reduction goal are today's young alumni," Desai said. "Now those people are in a perfect position to help support what they helped start in the first place which was Harvard trying to become a sustainable campus."

Despite young alumni's enthusiasm, Desai said that there are few outlets for their activism.

"There is no direct way that alumni can get involved. They can not invest-the divest approach-or they can go to the Sustainable Trace Fund," Desai said. "But this is something where they can learn about projects, see what's happening and get more attached to it...If you've worked in this area before, it's easy to get disillusioned and so this is something that is really appealing because you can make progress now."

Project Green Campus has so far announced two specific efforts: the replacement of overhead lights in the Quad with new, energy-efficient LEDs and a dishwasher in Cabot Cafe designed to reduce water use. So far, as a pilot project, only the Quad lights endeavor has accepted donations-currently, a total of $400. That figure, according to the website, is around half of the project's fundraising goal, which itself, Desai said, amounts to only about 1 percent of the project's cost.

"We're launching a pilot right now to get support, get feedback, and try to see if there's enough interest in one of these projects," he said.

Desai said that another purpose of the platform is to enable Harvard to tell its "sustainability story", as the projects remain on the website once they have been funded.

"You could have a hundred projects-a hundred stories about sustainability at Harvard," he said.

Colin B. Durrant, Harvard's manager of sustainability communications, said that Project Green Campus fit into the Sustainability Office's grant program's goal of encouraging innovation that might otherwise be unable to receive funding. Durrant said that he could not disclose the exact amount of the grant, but noted that they are generally limited to $5000.

Durrant asaid that the Sustainability Office also facilitated partnerships between the project and other campus offices, such as the Harvard Alumni Alliance for the Environment and the University Facilities and Planning Offices.

LED lighting energy savings for pumping station

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The energy efficient lighting solution installed by Dextra Lighting at the Gold Corner Pumping Station, which sits on the Huntspill River in Somerset, has saved the Environment Agency in excess of 2,000 per annum in reduced energy usage.

It has also created a much more effective LED office lighting and industrial LED lighting solution, with increased lux levels across all areas of the site.

Throughout the pumping station you will find Dextra Lighting's high performing Hydra LED luminaires, which being fully rated to IP65 are suitable for both internal industrial LED lighting and exterior LED lighting applications.

The Hydra LED is one of a number of LED ceiling lighting products that utilise the latest LED LINE cards from Philips. The highly efficient LED LINE card allows Dextra Lighting to offer this luminaire in a wide range of lumen outputs with light output ratios in excess of 80% combined with a 50,000 hour lifetime and 5 year warranty.

Within the offices Dextra Lighting have introduced yet another energy efficient LED lighting solution, the Graduate LED. A functional LED office lighting solution, the GRD LED has introduced increased lux levels for a much improved working environment when compared with the 2x70W T8 battens which previously lit the entire site.

The GRD LED has been modelled upon the success of its fluorescent equivalent but offers the added benefits of excellent energy efficiency and a 50,000 hour lifetime.

Manufactured using Philips LED cards and driver, this new internal LED lighting solution has been designed to incorporate an optional integral microwave sensor offering presence detection and brightout control, further increasing its credentials as an energy efficient lighting alternative. The Graduate LED is ideal for retrofit applications, allowing sensor control without the cost associated with modifying external wiring.

Tony Daw from the Environment Agency, the public body responsible for managing the Gold Corner Pumping Station, is so pleased with this internal LED lighting solution that he has requested Dextra Lighting supply an exterior LED lighting scheme to cover all external areas of the site.

Dextra Lighting's range of exterior LED lighting and LED flood lighting products will hopefully be seen lighting the outside of the Gold Corner Pumping Station very soon.

Homeowners are more likely than renters to use multiple CFLs and LEDs. In general, saving money is the clear winner when residents are asked to indicate their primary motivation for conserving energy. However, those who say that improving the environment is their primary motivation to conserve energy are slightly more likely to use multiple CFLs or LEDs in their homes when compared with those who are motivated by saving money.

The percentage of U.S. households using multiple CFLs and LEDs increases as annual household income increases.

Because home size influences the number of light sockets, customers living in smaller homes are likely to use fewer CFLs or LEDs. However, residents living in large homes (5,000 square feet or more) aren't necessarily the power users of CFLs and LEDs. These larger homes are less likely to use 11 or more CFLs or LEDs when compared to slightly smaller homes, despite the fact that they likely have more light sockets and an increased opportunity to use 11 or more energy-efficient bulbs.

Another interesting finding is that the percentage of households with 11 or more CFLs and LEDs increases as the number of household members increases, perhaps indicating that households using more energy are more likely to replace incandescent lightbulbs with CFLs or LEDs.

LED Lamp Shipments

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The rise of light-emitting diode (LED) technology is affecting every part of the commercial lighting industry. Falling prices and improving quality are driving widespread adoption of LEDs, and this single technology appears likely to surpass all others in nearly every metric of quality and efficiency. According to a new report from Navigant Research, worldwide unit shipments of LED lamps will grow from 68 million in 2013 to 1.28 billion annually by 2021. The markets for every other lighting technology will contract over that period.

"LED lighting has already begun to enter the commercial market in significant volume, and will grow rapidly over the remainder of the decade," says Jesse Foote, research analyst at Navigant Research. "Specific applications, such as cold storage, have already seen widespread LED adoption, while spaces that are currently lit by efficient linear fluorescent lamps await further LED price declines. The industry has entered a period of rapid upheaval, as established and startup companies scramble to position themselves to benefit from the rise of LED lighting."

Although shipments of LED products will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 44.3 percent through 2021, according to the report, they will not be sufficient to compensate for the overall decline in commercial lighting revenue as the industry moves toward much more long-lasting lamps. Lamp and luminaire revenue will both grow for the next few years, the study concludes, before beginning an inexorable decline in 2017.

The report, "Energy Efficient Lighting for Commercial Markets", examines the worldwide market for energy-efficient lighting in commercial buildings, including LED, fluorescent, halogen, and high-intensity discharge lamps and luminaires. The report details the market drivers for these technologies, including electricity costs, green building certifications, and improved controls, as well as the remaining barriers to adoption. Profiles of leading industry players are provided, along with global forecasts for unit shipments and revenue through 2021, segmented by region and by lamp type.

Designed to accommodate readily available tension fabric graphics, the Optima LED StretchLite is particularly well suited for large-format graphics - from conventional sizes to custom applications that can cover an entire wall. The light box frame has a slender edge and an invisible perimeter tensioning feature, which gives graphics of all sizes a sleek, frameless appearance and enables users to quickly and easily change images.

Inside the Optima LED StretchLite is a premium light source made up of arrays of LEDs, ensuring graphics of all sizes are evenly lit and the light is uniformly diffused without hot spots or visible emitters. The Optima LED StretchLite is brighter than many backlit fluorescent light boxes while providing the benefits of LED technology: lower power consumption, longer lifespan and fewer failure points.

"In-store graphics are intended to make customers feel a range of emotions - from welcomed and informed, to energized and inspired," says Kevin Hogan, president of Stylmark. "With its frameless appearance, countless sizes and consistent LED illumination, the Optima LED StretchLite enables each graphic to make a flawless visual impact and deliver on its intended purpose."

The Optima LED StretchLite frame can be transformed with hundreds of finish options, including anodized finishes matched to specific colors, and can become more than a light box when paired with Stylmark's range of offerings. When integrated with other fixtures, such as shelving or free-standing displays, it becomes a luminous merchandising solution.

Bring more light into a home

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A home without ample lighting can be uncomfortable. Dark rooms can exacerbate feelings of depression and make a home feel less inviting to guests. However, bringing in more outside light or supplementing with artificial light can quickly transform the atmosphere of a space.

Daylight hours begin to shrink in the northern hemisphere starting as early as September. When daylight savings time is in full force, it can get dark as early as 4:30 in the afternoon. While this premature darkness may be ideal for animals hibernating for the season, for humans who remain active throughout the year, increasing the amount of light that is present in a home during winter is important.

There are different strategies to let in more light when the sun sets.

When purchasing a new home, be conscious of window placement and also the direction in which a home faces. Apartments and homes that face north will be dark most of the day, while those that face south will have ample sunlight. In addition, look at how many trees are on the property. Even a home that faces south can have compromised sunlight if it shaded by multiple trees.

Open curtains and blinds all the way throughout the home during the winter months. Not only will this let in more light, but it also may warm the home from the sun, cutting down on heating costs.

Clean the windows. Dirt and grime that accumulates on windows can affect how much sunlight filters through.

When planning a home renovation project, consider adding a window on a wall where there currently is none or think about the inclusion of skylights to let in more light from above. Innovations in skylight technology enable small ones to be placed in rooms and connected through interior tubes that reflect the light. French doors also can bring in a lot of light. Separate a dark room from a bright room with a set of French doors to spread even more light throughout the home.

Paint walls with lighter colors that reflect light more effectively. Dark-colored floors and walls tend to absorb light, enhancing a cave-like atmosphere.

Purchase light fixtures that allow for a higher wattage of light bulb, which will be brighter. You may find higher wattages even in energy-conserving compact fluorescent bulbs and LED bulbs.

Stagger lights at varying heights to cast equal light throughout rooms. Task lighting, overhead lighting and decorative ambient lighting can combine to achieve a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Use solar lights outdoors to add extra illumination outside, which can make your home more welcoming when arriving home at night.

Clear rooms of clutter as such items can interrupt the flow of light.

If you find that the light in your home is still lacking and you can benefit from a burst of extra light therapy, consider the purchase of a therapy lamp that simulates sunlight. Set the timer and have it face you in the morning or afternoon. There also are alarm clocks that wake you with the simulation of a rising sun.

Strange bedfellows at Milan Furniture

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Extravagance, social consciousness and innovation are strange, but alluring, bedfellows at the Milan Furniture Show and the myriad side events dedicated to design that wrap up Sunday, ending a weeklong celebration of domestic bliss in its many forms.

The burgeoning event was originally conceived to promote Italian furniture making, which is withstanding the recession better than many industries, and now encompasses also design, fashion and architecture.

And as all these disciplines converge, so does utility. More and more, pieces can be shifted from room to room, and from home to office.

Global sales of luxury furnishings last year rose 3 percent to 18.5 billion euros ($24 billion), according to a study by Bain&Company for the Altagamma association of luxury designers. That's behind the 10 percent growth of the luxury industry as a whole, largely because emerging markets like China still haven't gotten around to redecorating their interiors, which Bain says gives great growth potential to the sector.

Inside a darkened room, tiny LED lights create halos that seem to bend when a hand reaches through. The effect is one of a rainbow, this one manmade with by the Tokyo/Milan design studio IXI with technology by Toshiba. Here, crystals mimic water droplets and the LED lights the sun. The one-off installation created for design week is called "Soffio," Italian for breath.

Lighting fixtures remain a central theme during design week, from the elegant to the fanciful.

The prestigious French crystal maker Baccarat engaged some of the industry's luminaries to interpret lamps, chandeliers and lighting fixtures for this year's furniture show.

Brazilian brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana incorporated rattan, bamboo and silk in a series of exotic lamps. For their Fusion collection, the encased a greenish blue crystal bulb within bell-shaped rattan shade that suggests the Maghreb. And a clear crystal bulb nests within bamboo cocoon in a table lamp that evokes Asia. Phillipe Starck designed a series of elaborate 24-light chandeliers, one featuring three glass deer heads in full antlers, while Arik Levy created a modernist 4-level frozen pattern chandelier.

Munich-based Ingo Mauer had a wholly modern interpretation on the chandelier. His "Flying Flames" evoke floating candles fashioned from red or black circuit boards with an electronic flame rendered in LEDs, each suspended from the ceiling. The 32-light creation was shown spectacularly in front of a reproduction of Leonardo's Da Vinci's "Last Supper."

Kartell, the Italian design leader, launched its first-ever collection intended for the bathroom, teaming up with the Swiss fixture maker Laufen and designers Ludovica and Roberto Palomba.

"I noticed more than two years ago that the bathroom is becoming more and more important," said Kartell president Claudio Luti. "Now, people want to find the comfort there that you have in the rest of the house. It becomes total living."

The Palomba design team used Laufen's latest technology, a ceramic called SaphirKeramik that is 30 percent lighter and easier to shape, to create graceful bathtubs and washbasins and sanitary fixtures.

The tub and sinks are freestanding and floor-mounted for a clean and spare look. Overflow drains can be hidden, and Kartell has designed colorful disks that fit over external faucets to incorporate utility.

The fixtures are paired with transparent cabinets, shelves, stools and towel racks in Kartell's signature transparent plastic - also in warm colors like orange and blue - that allow many configurations to customize the space.

LED lamp is the world’s most efficient

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Progress in the LED lighting industry can best be measured in two separate metrics: pricing and efficiency. Pricing gets most of the attention, but so many factors affect it - from the cost of materials to various subsidies - that it is primarily interesting as an overall trend. Efficiency, which is measured in terms of lumens-per-watt, is a better way to look at progress. It too depends on multiple factors (including the price of more expensive components) but the industry's steady increase in lumens-per-watt (lpw) is a less adulterated indicator of advances in technology and design.

In keeping with these advances, today Philips announced that they have created the world's most efficient warm white LED lamp. The prototype operates at 200 lumens-per-watt, a number that is more than double what is found in typical household LED products. The "warm white" part might seem like a minor detail, but it's actually rather important. The majority of people prefer their indoor lighting to be at warm white, usually 2700K, so gaining efficiency at this color temperature matters. Raising the color temperature is an easy way to increase efficiency (less color shift is necessary), so hitting 200 lpw with a 5000K lamp would be less of an accomplishment.

In the release Philips noted that the new TLED (tube-style light) does not compromise on light quality and that this is going to be a product for the real world. These are lighting industry code words for a CRI of above 80, color temperature of around 2700-3000K, and a respectable light pattern. At this point, this is likely more reflective of their goals than it is the current prototype.

Philips is calling their invention the "world's most energy-efficient LED lamp suitable for general lighting applications," but it's not a shape everyone will be familiar with. They opted for a tube-style light as opposed to a bulb shape. Any product that hits the market with this design would be more likely to land in an office than your living room, but as homes move away from traditional sockets and towards LED fixtures (at least in my estimation) we'll start seeing more lights like these. Before that point, Philips will want to use TLEDs like this to kill the fluorescent tube.

Philips expects their 200 lpw TLED to be available for purchase some time in 2015. While that's a solid 18 months away, if not more, at least there is a timeline in place. In the past we've seen announcements around the 200 lpw level, but often the company is just talking about a prototype that's off in lab, with no immediate production goals in mind. The manufacturers have been getting better about this though, and when Cree announced their 200 lpw LED in December, it become available for purchase shortly after. (Of course, a 200 lpw LED is quite different from a 200 lpw lamp due to downstream efficiency losses, but the general idea is the same.)

While this is all great news, there are some reasons to hold back your excitement. Mainly, 2015 is a long time away and Philips did not release any pricing expectations. It's way too early for pricing, but fluorescent tubes tend to be reasonably efficient, so even at 200 lpw Philips' TLED might look expensive to businesses that have hundreds to thousands of lamps to retrofit. Also, it could be the photograph, but the lamp being put into that integrating sphere doesn't look like 2700K, or even 3000K to me. In the picture the LED seems to be pushing into the "daylight" range, which is confirmed in reports that put the color temperature at 3000-4500K. The report notes that the 200 lpw number is a result of 1500 lumens produced using 7.5W.

Dumfries and Galloway install stargazer-friendly lights

11. dubna 2013 v 8:51 solar charger
A RURAL council is investing millions of pounds to install "dark skies" lamps in all of its street lighting in a move which could make it one of the world's most astronomy-friendly communities.

Dumfries and Galloway is spending 7.4 million to convert the region's 24,000 street lights from old-fashioned sodium models to new more efficient LED versions.

Although primarily aimed at meeting key carbon emissions targets and saving thousands of pounds, the council also hopes the move will provide a boost to the local economy by attracting more star-gazing tourists.

The UK's first Dark Sky Park set up through an international movement promoting light-pollution-free skies has already been credited with fuelling a rise in visitor numbers during the traditionally quite winter months since it was established in Galloway Forest in 2009.

If the council gains the status of a Dark Sky Community under the growing initiative, it would become the largest in terms of population in the world.

Outlining the hopes for the refit, Councillor Graham Nicol, who represents the Mid Galloway ward where the Dark Sky Park is located, said: "The first lights which we installed in Glentrool village for the Dark Sky Park have been a great success. The locals seem to have accepted them and the savings are quite dramatic.

"The park has already brought in quite a lot of people here and the big advantage is that they come at a time of year when tourism is usually lower, between October and April."

The Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), which played a key role in establishing a Dark Sky Park, welcomed the move to expand the status region-wide. Keith Muir, FCS tourism and recreation manager for Galloway, has worked closely with the council's lighting and carbon-reduction teams.

He said: "It's a fantastic move for the area. Being the UK's Dark Sky Park is a huge asset for us. It is a specific draw that is attracting people to the area who might not otherwise come. It's an investment in the future."

The light cast by LEDs is whiter than the orange light of sodium lamps which means that they do not need to be so powerful. The sodium lamps installed in Glentrool were 67 watts each compared to LED lamps of just 40 watts.

While inefficient sodium lamps also emit light pollution upwards and sideways, the LED lighting only beams down on to the ground.

The overall programme is expected to generate vast savings, with the completed refit in Glentrool village alone saving 1,500 a year in electricity costs. LED lighting is also far cheaper to maintain and longer lasting. The council expects to recoup the investment in eight years and believes the move will play a key role in ensuring it meets the target of reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2020.

Ameé Hennig, programme manager for the American-based International Dark Sky Association, said: "Dumfries and Galloway are leading the way with their plans. "Should they be designated as an International Dark Sky Community [IDSC], they will be an example to communities around the globe as the first IDSC home to over 100,000 residents."

There are only four Dark Sky Communities worldwide, the largest of which by population is Flagstaff in Arizona, home to 70,000 people.

Westford Manufacturer Shaves 40% Off Lighting Bill

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Mack Technologies, which makes circuit boards and electronics for the telecom, defense and industrial sectors, will save $50,000 a year at its headquarters thanks to one of the largest LED lighting retrofits in a manufacturing facility in New England, the company announced.

John Kovach, president of the Westford-based company, said his firm hired Bluestone Energy of Norwell to replace several thousand fluorescent bulbs with more-efficient LED fixtures.

Kovach said state and federal incentives cut the project's cost significantly and made it possible to do it sooner than the company might have otherwise.

Kovach had been researching more efficient lighting, but he thought the cost of swapping out 2,600 bulbs would be prohibitive. He said he didn't realize he could cut the cost of the investment by about 40 percent.

Through state and federal energy tax credits and a program with National Grid, Mack paid just over $200,000 for the total project instead of $325,000, Kovach said.

"We were kind of blown away by the information we came across in terms of the kind of energy savings we could realize and the impact to the environment," he said. "We probably would have done (the project) sometime over next few years, but not as soon as we did with the incentives and Bluestone."

Ryan Blair, president of Bluestone Energy, said heavy energy users pay into a fund through their electric bill that provides the incentives.

"This is not really grant money," Blair said. "Mack Technologies pays into this fund every single month when they pay their electric bill."

Blair said the project is the largest retrofit deployment of LED lighting in any manufacturing space in New England.

Bluestone's team worked from early October to mid-December, to install the new lights, accounting for about 3,000 man hours. The work largely took place during the Mack plant's second shift, where it only uses half the 130,000-square-foot facility's capacity.

Blair said the LED fixtures are warrantied for five years or 50,000 hours, won't require frequent replacement like the fluorescent lights they replaced, and through a wireless control system are are highly programmable to dim or turn off when they're not needed. Each fixture is individually programmable.

Kovach said his company is talking with Bluestone about other efficiency projects at other locations.

The company has facilities in Florida and Mexico, and its parent company, the Vermont-based Mack Group, has manufacturing facilities in Gardner, Vermont, South Carolina and North Carolina. Combined, they total more than 1 million square feet.

LED's are the third most popular form of lighting. They were developed in the late 1960′s and until recently most people were only familiar with them because of their use in certain types of billboards, such as highway construction signs, and other types of industrial uses. More recently scientists have developed ways of using them in flashlights, and have come up with several different types of energy efficient LED lights.

There are two major advantages of switching to LED's. They are much more energy efficient than almost any other type of bulb, with 7.5 watts being equivalent to a 60 watt incandescent bulb. They also last much longer than other types of bulbs- up to 50,000 hours, which means that most bulbs never have to be changed in a person's lifetime. In fact, in most of the ways they are used industrially, the other components wear out long before the LED does.

Claimed California company took his light fixture idea

9. dubna 2013 v 7:57 solar photovoltaic system
A Bessemer jury last week handed down a $3 million verdict in favor of a Birmingham area man who had filed a lawsuit claiming fraud and breach of contract against a California company that was to manufacture his idea for a new light fixture, court records show.

The jury rendered a verdict in favor of Clarence "Buddy" W. Scroggins, and his company Complete Lighting Source, and against Victor Deng and his company DM Technology and Energy Inc., of California. The trial, held before Bessemer Cutoff Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Eugene Verin, began March 25 and ended with a verdict on April 1.

The jury awarded Scroggins $4,750, plus 6% interest per annum from March 31, 2007, for his breach of contract claim and $1.5 million in compensatory damages, and $1.5 million in punitive damages on the fraud claims.

Scroggins was very pleased with the verdict and that Deng was being held responsible, said Jason Yearout, the Birmingham attorney who represented Scroggins. "He knew he had been taken advantage of."

Yearout said that Scroggins came up with an idea for a new light-emitting diode - or LED - fixture and went into a business venture with Deng to produce it at a factory that Deng owned or co-owned in China. "Buddy (Scroggins) agreed to allow Deng to patent the idea provided both were on the patent. Deng patented the idea in his name alone, however, and severed ties with Buddy," according to a statement from Yearout.

Scroggins entered the deal with Deng in 2006. Scroggins filed his lawsuit in 2007.

During the trial Deng introduced a 2003 patent for the same idea he claimed was from China, Yearout said. "I knew the 2003 patent did not exist, my client knew the 2003 patent did not exist, and I believe it's clear that the jury concluded that the 2003 patent did not exist," he said.

"This verdict sends a message to every entity who comes to Alabama that if you mistreat our citizens, if you defraud our citizens, if you steal from our citizens, you will be held responsible," Yearout stated in his release.

Yearout, in an interview today, said they were unclear how many of the LED light fixtures had been sold.

Scroggins' light fixture basically is an aluminum casing with LED lights spread throughout, Yearout said.

The LED fixture was designed to replace florescent lighting, Yearout said. The fixture puts off a bright light, with low heat, its lasts longer, and is more energy efficient, he said.

The target customer in the beginning was lighting for large discount retail stores and for use in jewelry display cases at jewelry stores, Yearout said.

Freshest fish is traded in the dead of the night

8. dubna 2013 v 8:52 solar photovoltaic system
Think Wall Street trading is brutal? Head up to the grittiest part of the South Bronx, where cutthroat deals are made in the dead of night on a massive concrete floor that reeks of fish guts.

The New Fulton Fish Market is the nation's largest seafood market, and second in the world to Tokyo's. Here, in a refrigerated building the size of six football fields, fishmongers are frenetically filleting, selling and packaging seafood - 200 million pounds a year worth close to $1 billion by some estimates. It is headed for restaurant tables, stores and mouths across America.

Glistening under the fluorescent lights is just about every sea creature. Some come in by truck, but about half are flown in from the ends of the Earth: Arctic char from Iceland; mahi-mahi from Ecuador; hamachi from Japan; branzino from Greece; salmon from Scotland; cockles from New Zealand.

Experienced buyers negotiate prices in seconds, judging quality on a look, a touch, a smell and often a raw taste.

"You know right away if fish is fresh. It's like looking into a woman's eyes - you know what's there," says Roberto Nunez, a 44-year-old Peruvian immigrant who started out as a dishwasher and has been the buyer for more than a decade for celebrity restaurateurs Lidia Bastianich, her son, Joe Bastianich, and their partner, Mario Batali.

Five nights a week, Nunez shows up at 1 a.m. to purchase as much as $15,000 worth of seafood, enough to meet the demands of 10 restaurants. What's available on any given night depends on a variety of often unpredictable factors, such as severe weather that keeps fishing fleets in port or a spotty catch in an overfished ocean.

"This is not like ordering tomatoes or potatoes," Nunez says. "Seafood is wild."

By 2:30 a.m., one of the key items on his handwritten list of orders - 400 pounds of striped bass - remains unfilled from among dozens of vendors. "I'm getting nervous," he says.

The day's hundreds of offerings - including crabs, clams, mussels, slimy squid, octopus and caviar - are spread out across the floor in ice-lined boxes, a shimmering spectrum of silvers, pinks, reds and browns. Buyers, some vying for the same, scarce items, point to a specific box and cry out, "That's mine!"

All night, dozens of men in coats and wool caps work to the soundtrack of mini-forklifts whizzing around, honking and spewing exhaust as they move seafood-laden pallets. The smell is a mixture of the fishy and the fresh scent of the ocean.

Nunez finally spots some striped bass. But when he lifts the gills, "it's no good; they're brown," he says dejectedly. Plus, the skin is dry, the eyes are cloudy, and it smells funky.

The hunt continues for the rest of his list: scallops, shrimp, squid, monkfish liver, fluke, shad roe, blowfish.

He waits around for a while, and sure enough, a box lid opens to reveal eight bass from Delaware, weighing 121 pounds. Now, where to find at least 180 pounds more? He rushes off, scouring the cavernous market. And he gets lucky, landing 100 pounds.

Not far away, Peter Panteleakis, who owns two Greek restaurants in Fair Lawn, is on a hunt of his own for the freshest seafood he can find, such as the sea scallops that still move when poked and a 21-pound piece of local halibut that a vendor slices open to reveal clean, rosy flesh.

The 66-year-old immigrant from a village near Sparta, Greece, who comes by four nights a week with his son, first set foot in the old open-air Fulton fish market in lower Manhattan more than 30 years ago. It was replaced in 2005 by the state-of-the-art South Bronx facility that's open six nights a week.

Your Guide To Choosing A Good LED Light Bulb

7. dubna 2013 v 5:11 solar power systems
Today, if you stroll down any light bulb aisle, or click through any lighting website, it's pretty obvious that some serious changes have taken place. No longer can we just pick out the usual incandescent and be on our way. Now we have choices.

You've probably heard about the LED light bulb. You probably know it can save you energy. Maybe you've been told it can last for over 20 years. If you've really paid attention, you might have noticed that the prices of LED light bulbs have steadily dropped as innovations have increased.

So, if you're committed to going green in your home or business, it's about time to try an LED for yourself. But now that there are so many LEDs on the market, how do you know which one to choose?

Just follow these simple guidelines…

1. How Bright Do You Like Your Light?

When the choice of light bulbs was limited to incandescent alone, consumers got used to determining a light bulb's brightness by its wattage. But, wattage actually measures the amount of energy a light bulb uses. An LED will use fewer watts to generate the same amount of light. To pick out the right LED for your needs, you should get used to measuring brightness in lumens. A 60-watt incandescent light generates about 800 lumens, so an equally bright LED light bulb will generate the same.

2. What Color Light Do You Prefer?

Early LED lamps generally gave off a cooler white light, but now they're available in a range of different color temperatures. How do you know what temperature works for you? The cooler (more bluish) ones help you stay alert and make things look crisp and clean. We recommend them for office lighting, bathrooms, and other commercial lighting. The warmer (more reddish) temperatures are relaxing and inviting, great for general home lighting.

3. Where Will You Use Your LED?

The light quality of your LED is measured by CRI or Color Rendering Index. This number indicates how well the light bulb portrays colors on a scale from 1 to 100. Eighty-five and above is a very good rating. If you plan to use your light bulb frequently, or put it in a prominent location like the foyer, CRI is a very important metric to consider. However, if you're planning to use your LED in a closet or with a utilitarian fixture, CRI isn't as crucial.

4. What Shape Light Bulb Do You Need?

LEDs come in a plethora of shapes to replace almost every kind of incandescent light bulb you can think of. This isn't just limited to regular household lamps. You can find LED globe light bulbs, chandelier light bulbs, and reflector light bulbs - along with a ton of fixtures that have them built-in. You should note that standard "snow cone shape" LEDs excel at giving light off in one direction, so they're great for overhead lighting, spotlighting, and display lighting. But, if you require an even source of light, for instance in a table lamp or ceiling fan, you need an omni-directional design.

5. Do You Plan On Dimming?

Many LED light bulbs on the market today advertise their dimming capabilities. This is a great option if you want to save even more energy and be able to control your room's environment with ease. However, old incandescent dimmers often aren't compatible with this new light source. To dim your LED, you may need to invest in an LED-specific dimmer. Usually, you can find this out on your light bulb's packaging.

6. Is Your Light Bulb Going In A Hot Place?

These light bulbs thrive in the cold. If you use an LED outdoors in winter or inside a refrigerator, it will actually last longer. However, heat is not as good of a pal. LEDs exposed to extreme heat may degrade more quickly over time. So, if you plan to use LEDs in an area that can get a little toasty (like in overhead recessed cans) you may want to invest in lamps that have advanced cooling systems, using something like liquid silicone or a large heat sink at the base.

7. How Much Does Your Favorite LED Cost?

Of course, price is always a hot button issue when it comes to LED light bulbs. They tend to be more expensive than less efficient light sources, so it can be difficult to take the plunge and invest. How much is too much? Before you buy, check the product's Lighting Facts Label. This little box, printed on your LED's packaging ensures you it can deliver what it promises. The Lighting Facts Label even includes a lifetime energy savings estimate, so you can determine whether or not the savings are worth the cost upfront. Often, they can be over $100.

These 3-D Printed Speakers Put On a Dazzling Light

3. dubna 2013 v 5:41 street light
The speakers are one-of-a-kind, 3-D printed on an Objet Connex 500 at Autodesk and endowed with an audioreactive LED system by LumiGeek, a new company that makes Arduino-compatible microcontrollers for an LED development kit. Built by LumiGeek founder John "Parts" Taylor and Autodesk applied innovation engineer Evan Atherton, the speakers are both a drool-worthy experiment and an example of what 3-D printing can do now.

With about $2,200 worth of 3-D printed material, the cost is nearly prohibitive. Made possible by the ultra-high-end Connex, which can print two different materials in seamless integration - and thus a nearly continuous spectrum of materials by mixing the two - the speaker housings incorporate a web of flexible black material with hard translucent plastic interspersed on the grid. The result is two cantaloupe-sized hollow balls that look a little like futuristic blooming onions, and sound pretty darn good too.

Because of the dampening properties of the material, Atherton figured it would make a good housing for a pair of speakers. He printed several prototypes, and stuck an LED flashlight in one of them. The way the material scattered the light impressed him so much that he called Taylor immediately, and set up an experiment with LumiGeek's new standalone audioreactive tool.

LumiGeek's yet-to-be-released product is a Bluetooth-programmable, Arduino-compatible microcontroller that allows the user to define the actions of an LED strip, or other visual output, based on an audio file; it's real-time audio analysis paired with video-creation software.

"The world hasn't seen this before," says Taylor, who is putting together a Kickstarter with co-founder Joe Martin to get the light controlling boards, their initial product, off the ground. And while the speakers won't be available to purchase, the top pledger could even see a similar pair of the speakers as his or her reward.

"What we're doing is literally playing video in here," says Taylor. But the video is first broken up into pixels to run on the LEDs at super-low resolution, and then diffused further through each transparent pillar of the speakers.

The whole project is part of an effort by Autodesk's strategic innovation division, which works on crazy, experimental, and sometimes impractical projects.

The term "rapid prototyping" is a disservice to 3-D printing, bemoans Maurice Conti, director of strategic innovation. Sure, 3-D printing is a convenient way to prototype parts for engineering products, and you can make myriad intricate trinkets, says Conti. But 3-D printing will have arrived, he contends, when it starts producing finished products.

"It's always been one or two layers away from the final product," he says. "I've been on this quest to kind of push this envelope of rapid manufacturing versus rapid prototyping."

CFLs were by then beginning to get a bad reputation

2. dubna 2013 v 5:22 solar photovoltaic system
Besides, CFLs were by then beginning to get a bad reputation. Few lived up to their claim of longer life, especially when they were switched on and off repeatedly, or used in recessed ceiling lights where heat could build up and fry their inbuilt circuitry. Meanwhile, the procedures for dealing with the hazardous mercury vapour in spent or broken CFLs made people wary of having them around the house.

Fearing a consumer revolt, Congressmen who had backed the legislation rushed to repeal it. In the event, the prohibition on the sale of inefficient 100-watt incandescents was put off until October 2012. Californian retailers ceased to restock them in January 2011. But the prohibition is now in force, and people are grumpy. Though LED bulbs, which have a total-cost-of-ownership significantly less than that of sodium or other forms of industrial lighting, have proved their worth to municipalities and businesses, they have yet to do the same for residential users.

That is hardly surprising, given an up-front cost of anything from $25 to $60 (before possible rebates from utility companies) for an LED bulb that has a luminous flux equivalent to the 100-watt incandescent variety. To the average householder, it does not matter that such bulbs pay for themselves-by using considerably less energy than incandescents-in three to four years, and go on putting out useful light for 20 years or longer. What does matter is that swapping from incandescents or compact fluorescents to LEDs makes a big hole in the family budget in the here and now.

Your correspondent plans to upgrade his original 4.2 kilowatts worth of indoor and outdoor lighting with LED equivalents, one lamp at a time, as the existing bulbs (mostly compact fluorescents) burn out. Replacements for 100-watt flood lights tend to cost around $40 a piece. But the popular 60-watt-equivalent can now be had for as little as $14.

Not all LED lamps, however, are created equal. Some of the cheaper ones have a chilly blue cast. None has quite the full complement of colours of the profligate tungsten-filament bulb, with its wide pallet of wavelengths in the visible spectrum.

The usual measure of a light source's ability to reproduce colours faithfully is the Colour Rendering Index (CRI). By convention, incandescent bulbs are assigned a CRI of 100. Cheap LEDs can have a CRI of 50 or less. A really good one-such as the $50 Philips LED bulb that won the Department of Energy's $10m "L-Prize" for exceeding all the set requirements for a 60-watt-replacement-has a CRI of 93. Most LEDs have CRIs of 80 to 85. It is thus worth checking the quality of the light an LED bulb produces before splurging on a six-pack of them.

It is also wise not to take claims of an LED bulb being dimmable too literally. Though many are, they usually require approved dimmer switches. That can mean replacing existing switches along with the bulbs.

That said, these are early days. Like their industrial brethren, LED bulbs for domestic use will get better, cheaper and have more features. Your correspondent is particularly excited by the prospects of being able to communicate remotely with his lights at home via Wi-Fi and the internet. He also looks forward to being able to program the colour they produce on the fly. Solid-state lighting makes all this, and more, possible.

Bulbs like the Philips Hue or LIFX can have their brightness, colour and timing of when to come on and go off controlled wirelessly from a smartphone. The Philips programmable LED uses a separate router box, but the Australian LIFX bulb has the networking electronics built into the bulb itself. The LIFX can even be set up to change colour to music.