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Hasn't that become the de facto war cry of the digital age, ushered in ever so presciently in the early 90s by Apple Computer?
Well, thinking differently isn't just for the the geek chic computer set anymore. A recent article in the New York Times suggests that the lighting industry is in the midst of a Silicon Valley-like LED lighting revolution:
“Up till now we only thought — do I have enough light to see, to clean my room, to cut a diamond?” said Ed Crawford, a senior vice president of Philips Lighting Americas. “Now it impacts what I do, how I feel, in emotional ways.”
As cost continues to drop and quality continues to rise, LEDs (and their ability to replicate a wide range of colors), are leading the charge. In fact, colored LED lighting is being used to do everything from settling the spirits of frazzled Virgin America airline travelers (pictured above) to managing jaundice in newborns. It is, in a sense, much more functional than meets the eye. At the consumer level, some LED ceiling lights even change colors to suit the mood.
But lighting is getting smarter too. There are park lights that turn on only as joggers pass by, and street lights that can detect noxious gases. There are light bulbs that can be dimmed and color shifted, all through a mobile app. And soon, public lighting could be networked to monitor traffic or direct cars to vacant parking spots.
While the technology is still in R&D, consumers are already beginning to see benefits. Famed Italian designer Alessi recently released LED bulbs at a very eye-pleasing 2700K color temperature:
LED AlessiLux Silver Decorative Light Bulb
And energy-efficient LEDs have made solar powered path lighting (and the added safety and security they provide) a viable consumer option for years:
Pewter Solar Lantern Outdoor Landscape Light
The question is: what's next? Instead of wall lights, we may see interactive lighting that covers entire walls. Instead of remembering to turn off the lights, our homes may do the remembering for us. Whatever comes next in modern lighting, you can trust we'll be chasing it down.
Images: All Things Tech, Catch Brand,
Brent Turner is an architecture, design and art writer who adores elegantly simple distillations of complex design problems. You'll often catch him waxing poetic about how such creative problem solving is not only the essence of a successful art and design practice, but of science, engineering, and well, life in general. A California native, Brent was educated at U.C. San Diego where he was first exposed to clumsy yet endearingly avant-garde institutional art and architecture. In the years since, he has expanded his interest base to include all types of interior, graphic and industrial design. His best personal designs are made with Legos, and it's for this reason that Brent confines his own public creative work to wordsmithing. When he isn't writing, he hosts an art and design podcast called Beer & Tall Buildings.
Brent lives in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles with his cat Buster. If you can't reach him by phone or email, he's most likely on a mountaintop somewhere and promises to call you back as soon as he descends.
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