Philips bulb

25. dubna 2013 v 4:56 |  solar charger
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.
 

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