The lighting industry is going through a sea change, and the future has never been brighter.
This year’s Lightfair conference and expo was held from 12 to 14 May, and highlighted not only the latest in lighting technologies and designs, but also how deeply solid-state lighting (SSL) has penetrated the market. The good news is that since the show took place in Las Vegas, I already had my sunglasses ready.
I have maintained that SSL will eventually change the world, and this year’s event underscored the speed manufacturers and designers are moving to that ever-closer future. Last year’s event had only a small percentage of exhibitors demonstrating LED- and EL-based designs, but you could count on your hands the number of exhibitors that did not have SSL at their booths this year.
Component manufacturers were out in force, touting the benefits of their technologies. Remember, creating an SSL luminary involves more than just sticking an LED into the part you would usually have the incandescent bulb. Power and thermal management are serious concerns that must be addressed in order to create a properly-functioning lamp. On the thermal management side, Nuventix’ SynJet technology is a promising way to create a forced-air environment without using fans or rotating motors. Tom Dalton of Nuventix (www.nuventix.com) demonstrated to me how they use a driven membrane to create airflow and reduce the required heatsink in a lamp by as much as 50%.
The most interesting thing at the show power-related wasn’t about driving SSL electronics, interestingly enough. It was the energy-harvesting tech at the EnOcean Alliance (www.enocean-alliance.org) booth. They had several product demonstrators showing their energy-harvesting wireless technology. By putting a microgenerator in the user controls, the wireless devices capture the energy the user puts into moving the switches and uses it to drive the wireless circuitry, eliminating the need for batteries. With one application of SSL being placing a slim and/or flat lamp where one wasn’t before, the ability to put a dimming light switch in any location without regard to access of power or worrying about battery replacement is a very good thing. This tech can also be used in other applications where a physical action can be used to harvest energy to drive the circuit involved.
On the cutting-edge front, OSRAM Opto Semi unveiled their new ORBEOS OLED light engine. This flat, round surface emitter has a color-rendering index of 80 and a correlated color temperature of 2800K. The company had it on display as a bare lamp as well as integrated into a mirror wall fixture, and it looked quite impressive.
Check out the videos we shot from the Lightfair show floor on the ECN website at www.ecnmag.com/videos.