Category Archives: LEDs in the news

TFF Challenge – LED Henlight Update

The Thought for Food Challenge Summit took place this weekend in Berlin, and UC Davis team Henlight (featured here by LED Waves last week) took home the grand prize!

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The team’s LED light boosts egg-laying during less productive times of the year by mimicking optimal daylight qualities. “Farmers should receive roughly 40% to 80% more eggs during periods of shorter day length than they would without using the supplemental lighting,” Henlight’s Silva said. “For a small flock of 10 birds, that can mean up to 40 extra eggs per week during the autumn  and winter months.” (via WorldPoultry)

Chickens are among the most sustainable livestock to raise, with a high feed-to-meat conversion rate. Combined with the small size and energy impact of the solar powered LED light, Henlight’s innovation will make a huge difference where it’s needed most in our exponentially growing global community. LED Waves extends a giant fist pump to the winning team.


LED “Henlight” to Help Feed the World

Following recent advancements in LED lighting for swine comes news of similar applications in the poultry world.  A trio of scientists from UC Davis has applied the energy efficient technology to a small, solar-powered lamp designed for raising chickens. The Henlight team will fly the coop this week for Berlin, Germany, for the 2013 Thought for Food Challenge Summit.

Thought for Food focuses on feeding the world’s growing population, which is expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050. Challenge finalists are judged on their abilities to raise awareness and create lasting solutions to the global food crisis. Teams demonstrating practicality, “scalability” and economic feasibility, will receive investment funding for their product from the Berlin summit.

Henlight conducted market and behavioral research with lighting in rural areas around Zambia. Their findings informed the creation of an LED light that encourages hens to lay more eggs – more consistently – throughout shorter (typically less productive) days of the year. The lamp’s solar panel and small size makes it a viable solution for poor farmers in off-grid, and developing communities.

Chickens are relatively easy to raise, and offer a high feed-to-meat conversion ratio. “From the rural, smallholder farmer to the urban homeowner to the poultry giant — far more people are able to participate in the poultry industry than in any other type of livestock production,” Henlight member Emily Sin pointed out. The team’s sustainable lighting product therefore holds huge potential to help feed communities on a wide scale. LED Waves wishes them success at the Berlin summit, and beyond.


Farmers Go Hog Wild Over SSL Benefits

LED lighting has been widely adopted for indoor farming applications, thanks to their energy efficiency and their ability to be controlled to produce optimal wavelengths for plant growth. But thanks to breakthroughs in livestock farming technology – most recently, with swine – crops are no longer hogging the LED spotlight.

LED lighting and puns are my cup o’ tea.

Optimal lighting contributes to reduced mortality rates, lower stress, faster weight gain and other benefits for livestock. National Hog Farmer reports that pigs are particularly sensitive to red and blue light. They are developing solid state lighting modules to produce these exact spectrums of light at the optimum irradiance. And since the technology is compatible with smart controls, the LED lights can be modulated to mimic sunrise and sunset patterns ideal for the pigs’ production cycles.

And of course there are the reduced maintenance and electricity costs associated with solid state technology. Replacement LED lights use anywhere between half to one tenth the energy of traditional lighting, and with operating lives averaging 50,000 hours (with <30% lumen depreciation), casting these pearls before swine is a worthy investment.

PPL Joins the LED Revolution

Pennsylvania-based energy company PPL Corporation is offering customers a free LED light bulb for signing up for their paperless billing program by December 15th. This is a double win for sustainability; not only is PPL saving trees and fuel associated with mail delivery, but these LED bulbs (<14 Watt equivalent to a 60 Watt incandescent) will reduce energy consumption by 75% per fixture.

Along with the LED light bulb, PPL’s paperless customers will be rewarded with lower energy bills, AND they’ll save themselves a stamp each month by paying online.

PPL’s LED bulb is an E26/E27 base A-lamp incandescent replacement. While it represents only 10% of the lighting market, practically every home has at least one fixture for this omnidirectional type of lamp. This creates a valuable opportunity for some customers to familiarize themselves with the future of lighting technology. As the quality of light from LEDs has made leaps and bounds in the past decade, we foresee users being pleasantly surprised enough to replace the rest of their lights with energy-saving LED downlights, PARs and linear lighting.

For perspective: A smattering of lamp types other than the traditional incandescent A-lamp, to be replaced with LED lighting.

With over 2 million electricity customers in the  USA (and approximately 10 million worldwide), PPL is poised to make a significant impact through this program. LED Waves applauds their participation in the LED Revolution.


Young LED Lighting Designers Have a Bright Future

Kids across the country demonstrated some impressive lighting design skills in the LED Challenge, a contest sponsored by Digi-Key and Microchip. Working in teams, fifth through twelfth grade students incorporated LED lights into electronic innovations.

Some common themes emerged from the students’ submissions. Many projects referenced their own hometowns. Students from Wildwood Middle School in West Virginia, created a display to raise awareness about brook trout – the state’s only native trout species, now facing extinction. (Schematic above.) And Wisconsin team Pack Attack took home first prize with a tribute to the Green Bay Packers. Their model of Lambeau Field spells out a cheer of GO PACK GO in pulsing LED lights. (Schematic below.)

Apparent in all the LED Challenge submissions is the spirit of discovery: Each member of the Spectacular Seven, an all-girl team from Utah, found a natural role for herself within the designing and engineering process. Kids who’d never held a soldering gun developed a new, profound interest in solid state technology. One fifth grader was surprised to discover that “LED stands for light emitting diode, not little electrical device.”

Thanks to these budding lighting designers, the future looks brighter than ever. Check out EE Times for more contest entries and charming, hand-drawn schematics.

I Don’t Know Why You Say Goodbye, I Say Holonyak

image via Wikipedia Commons

Last month saw the retirement of the man credited as the inventor of LED light. Nick Holonyak hung his teaching hat at the University of Illinois on July 31st, though colleagues say the 84-year old will likely continue his research in the solid state lighting field.

“I don’t believe his mind will ever stop thinking about advances in micro or nano-electronics, and how he can help solve problems the world will face not tomorrow, but in 50 years,” contends Andreas Cangellaris, department head of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois.

Holonyak was honored last fall, in a celebration that coincided with the 50th anniversary of his discovery of the light-emitting diode. (Read about his contributions in this history of LED technology.) Though colleagues feel he deserves the Nobel Prize for his invention of the LED, Holonyak says, “It’s ridiculous to think that somebody owes you something. We’re lucky to be alive, when it comes down to it.”

The entire staff of LED Waves extends our deepest gratitude to Nick Holonyak – for his help making the world a better-lit, less wasteful place, and for our jobs in this field of truly disruptive technology. We wish him years of continued LED enlightenment in this next chapter of life.

via Central Illinois News-Gazette

LIGHTFAIR 2013 Recap

LED Waves has a lot of exciting news to share, which we’ll spread out in the next few posts. We still have to settle in and catch up after LIGHTFAIR International, which took place in Philadelphia last week.

The LFI show floor was bigger than ever this year, with visitors and manufacturers alike buzzing about the industry’s “lumens race”. We stood out with these new LED lights, each the brightest in their class:

The California™ LED MR16 No other MR16 at the show offered this kind of efficacy.
The Rio Grande™ Waterproof LED Strip Superior indoor or outdoor visibility at over 300 lumens per foot! On sale this week at 15% off.
The Andromeda™ LED High Bay We had our brightest version (5700K 40 LEDs) on display. Visitors were encouraged to not look directly into the light.

California-based LED makers Bridgelux showed some of their latest developments, including the soon to be released Vero. A little over 4,000 hours of test data in, this chip-on-board diode promises high lumen output and reliability at high drive currents.

LED Waves was pleased to offer a sneak preview of the highly anticipated Vero inside a fixture – the Owl™ Outdoor LED Wall Pack. This series of floods (10W, 20W, 30W, 50W, 70W, 100W and 200W versions) will be available online soon – once the performance specs at 6,000 hours are confirmed.

If you didn’t get to attend LIGHTFAIR this year, make sure to come back to our site for more on the Vero and other exciting developments in LED technology!

Our LED Lights Featured in Zen Garage

We’ve added a new LED lighting project to our gallery! Custom garage builder GarageMahals made spectacular use of our American-made LED recessed lights, as well as our brightest LED light strip, in creating Zen Garage: a tranquil 900 square foot space combining Eastern inspiration with some modern flourishes.

The Wall Street Journal included Zen Garage in a recent feature on the growing trend of luxury garages. It came out as the most modestly priced one in the bunch!

Read more about this project in our Showcase, and follow the links for more garage inspiration.

LED Lights and the Swarmageddon

Cicada season is soon to hit the east coast, and Radiolab has posted these neat instructions for a DIY Cicada tracker. These buzzers have spent the past seventeen years sleeping and snacking in soil throughout the southern United States. Once this soil reaches 64° F, the cicadas will emerge and begin their journey up north. The detector will flash LED lights to signal the coming Swarmageddon.

You’ll need about $80 worth of materials to make the Cicada Tracker; and local folks can build theirs at one of these hands-on workshops hosted by WNYC.

This seems like a rich educational experience for kids, lots of nerdy fun for LED fans (bonus: the LEDs will still be functional for the next Swarmagedden, in 17 years), and just a great activity for any cicada enthusiast who is just sick-a-da waiting.

This Week in LED Bulb News

Things have been a little hectic here at LED Waves as we wrapped up three weeks of back-to-back of trade shows – the last which was LEDucation. As we settle back down, here are some recent solid state lighting news stories that we found worth sharing:

First, some housekeeping: LED Waves has rolled out the Exhibitor™ MR16 LED Light Stand. This is a portable fixture of adjustable height, featuring a screw clamp to create exhibition-like spot lighting wherever a standard AC outlet is available. Each unit comes with a free LA™ MR16, the first American-made 12v LED bulb available to the public from our in-house OEM team.

In related news, the California™ LED MR16 is now in stock! This highly anticipated 12v bulb, introduced earlier this year, has been making its way to the hands of those who took advantage of our pre-order discount. You can still get quantity pricing on this item by calling 1(800)986-0169. The CA™ is a 7W replacement for a 50W halogen MR16, made in the USA with Cree XT-E LEDs.

Lighting Science has an unfortunate situation on their hands, as the company is recalling thousands of A19, G25 and R20/PAR20 LED bulbs sold through big box retailers. The recalled bulbs, made in China within a certain period (click here for affected dates), are prone to overheating. This issue has led to 68 reported product failures, eight of which created smoke/fire conditions.

These bulbs are not the only things smouldering in the LED industry: Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder has lent his mug to our friends at Cree to promote the diode manufacturer’s new light bulbs.

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images courtesy of (WHY CAN'T WE STOP LAUGHING?)

These types of bulbs aren’t our main focus (nor are they a major priority of Cree, as revealed at one shareholders meeting) because, despite the media attention and iconic shape, they actually only constitute about 10% of the lights in use around us. At the very least, however, we hope their sales will help continue driving LED prices down. In turn, it will help spread this energy-saving technology to the other 90% served by LED Waves.