Think you’re all done building out your Hue lighting collection? Think again. Philips’ latest product is one you’re likely going to want to own. The tap switch, available later this year for $60, lets you control connected lights wirelessly by tapping one of four buttons. More impressive, however, is the switch’s ability to turn lights off and on without requiring a power source of its own. The device is powered by kinetic energy, so a tap creates enough juice to complete each task. Philips is also announcing a new “lux” bulb, which looks and operates like traditional Hue units, albeit without the 16 million colors. This bulb emits only white light, but it’s reportedly very bright. Lux is set to retail for $40 per bulb (compared to $60 for the color version), or $100 in a set of two bundled with a Hue base as well. Like the switch, lux will ship in Europe and North America after the summer.
The light-emitting diode has brightened our lives for half a century – from lighting up the city streets at night, to decorating Christmas trees each December.
The LED started life in October 1962, as a single red illumination in a General Electric research lab in New York state.
Now – as one of the world’s biggest retailers, Ikea, announces that by 2016 the only lighting products it will sell will be LED-based ones – Prof Nick Holonyak Jr from the University of Illinois, takes a look back at how it all began with his invention of the first practical visible-spectrum light-emitting diode.
LED-Light-Emitting Diodes have been around for years.
Traditionally, they have been used as indicators on electrical devices, such as standby lights on TVs. This was because LEDs were available only in red, but recent advances mean that other colours are now available, and the light emitted is much brighter.
White light (used for general lighting) using LEDs can be created via a number of techniques. One example is mixing red, green and blue LEDs.
It is suggested that LEDs can last for up to 100,000 hours, compared with the 1,000 hours of traditional incandescent light bulbs and compact fluorescent lamps’ (CFLs) 15,000 hours.
The technology is also much more energy-efficient, using up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs.
The long lifespans and low energy use make LEDs economically attractive because even though the fittings cost more, the running and maintenance bills are lower.