Top 5 Smart Lighting Tech Innovations of the Year

There are few inventions more iconic than the light bulb. We use it every day, for anything you can think of: lighting our homes, driving safely at night, and even in scientific research. Electric lighting is woven into the fabric of our civilization and has been for some time. It’s hard to imagine where we would even be today without it! Since its creation, the stream of mind-boggling advancements in lighting technology has been almost non-stop, and new ways to think about lighting are in high demand now more than ever.

This year in particular, there’s been a massive increase in the number of talented and energetic companies pouring mountains of time and resources into creating light fixtures that change the way we live. These innovations are each trying to become as ubiquitous as the any other household object, such as a broom or a coffee table. Smart lighting tech innovations are making that possible for a larger audience constantly.

In this list, we’ll give you a quick recap of the most sensational lighting inventions to spring up recently. What you find in this list may give you new insight into the trajectory of the tech industry as a whole, as well as a glimpse into the future of interior lighting.

Cuboid Lighting

Let’s face it: Lamps are becoming a thing of the past. Moveable lighting fixtures are still an essential part of any household, but the days of dusty beige lamp covers are quickly becoming synonymous with the previous century. A new wave of lighting designs have come to take their place.

Qube’s eponymous product integrates smart technology and elegant minimalism to form an abstraction to the lamps of old. A host of smartphone-like features are changing desktop lighting from a lightbulb on a stick to a sophisticated computer.

It’s not hard to imagine that soon these cuboid lights may serve the same purpose as our desktop computers! Indeed, the Tittle is another cube light that functions more as a thinking decoration than a normal light, due to its focus on home entertainment. Using a 3-dimensional array of LEDs, this light can function as a fascinating display.

Smart Christmas Lights

One fixture of the american household that seems immovable over time are Christmas tree lights. For as long as Christmas has been represented in pop culture, trees have always been portrayed with a wiry string of tiny bulbs wrapped around it like a sparkly python.

To shake this tradition up, one company has recently introduced the smart Christmas tree lights. Connected via bluetooth, the string of lights can synch up to your smartphone. An app allows you to change their color at your leisure, play sound effects, and even play music. Those lights can then synchronize with the beat of the music, creating a dynamic and never-before-seen christmas lighting experience.

Work Lights

The University of British Columbia’s recent article about the introduction of automatic “busy” lights to workplaces has drawn attention to the newest phenomenon in smart lighting: Its use during work.

Our interest in smart lighting is often centered around home use, but there are very practical applications for it in other fields. Take the colloquially named “Red Light, Green Light,” for example. The light is an invention of the UBC, and works, in their own words, like a “Skype status.” It receives a signal from your mouse and keyboard, switching between green and red depending on if you are available for a chat with coworkers or not.

Productivity has seen an increase at the university as a result of this invention. The automatic nature of the light removes the process of workers putting markers on their desks to indicate if they don’t wish to be disturbed, which ends up saving even more valuable work time in the process.

Natural Wake-up Bulbs

Light bulbs have a major impact on our sleeping patterns. The right kind of lightbulb and smart lighting setup can mean the difference between poor sleep and restful slumber. Getting a healthy, restful sleep is hard. Having a relaxing wake-up is even harder. We’ve all experienced the jarring sensation of being woken up by a loud alarm, but what if there was a better way? Many companies are working tirelessly to create smart lights that recreate the sensation of waking up naturally.

Mainly this is accomplished by gradually increasing the amount of light emitted by the light fixture, similar to how the sun’s rays will seem gradually brighter as time passes in the morning. Using this method of gradient lighting, getting up at 5:00 AM can feel as natural as waking up to a morning sunrise.

Fog Light Screens

Though this phenomenon hasn’t quite made it into the hands of the average consumer yet, fog screens are fast becoming an incredible technological breakthrough. To achieve the 3-dimensional effect that this technology is known for, large machines have to be built that billow out semi-transparent gas. That gas is then projected onto with some type of light display.

The moving parts of the machine allow for the changing of the fog screen’s position, contouring, and opacity. Think of it as a projector that can dynamically change shape, display information, and even respond to input. The scientific applications of using a surface with depth to portray data is still being considered, so this invention is just around the corner from being the next big tech lighting innovation.

As for home use, it’s interesting to think about how this could be put to use in our day-to-day lives. I’m sure you’ve had a day where you had something important to do, only to have the reminder scrawled on a piece of forgotten, crumpled paper somewhere. It would certainly be much easier to remember your grocery list if it was a ten-foot wall of fog projected onto in front of your bed. A silly concept perhaps, but you can easily surmise how that tech might be put to use in a way that could even replace standard monitors or televisions in the home.

Author Bio:

Carolyn Clarke is a freelance writer based in Southern California who has been writing about technology’s influence on our everyday life for nearly 10 years. She has served as a consultant for small businesses, including Atlanta Light Bulbs and WattBoys.
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