A Luminaire I Could Accidentally Kick Down The Stairs

Meet the LUNA Light by Christian Strauss:

lena light 1

The LUNA Light is an LED sourced, lean-to kind of fixture.  Inside of the light is an angle-sensitive switch that turns the light on or off depending on how you’ve got it tilted.  From the designer, Christian Strauss:

LENA is a leaning light made of aluminium round pipe. The lamp has a finishing of liquid gum, resulting thereby a very pleasant haptics and matt black optics. A tilt angle contactor provides for the on/off switch inside of the lamp and it underlines the gesture of the leaning perfectly; the quicksilver inside of the tilt angle contactor inclines when the lamp is leaned on the wall or the furniture and merges thereby two contact parts providing smooth current flow. Therefore supplies LENA with direct or diffuse light only in leaned position.

I suck at not breaking things that lean on something else. You know the shelves that have a large bottom end and lean up against the wall? Yeah. We don’t have any of those in our house because I would break them in a week by tripping over them. I can’t imagine that this would be any different in my house.

lena_light

lena

Thanks, Contemporist!

Happy Birthday, Michael Faraday!

If you work with anything that requires electricity, you might want to know who Michael Faraday was – as today is his birthday!

michael_faraday

Who’s that?  Is that Michael Faraday?  Hey, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Michael Faraday! (September 29, 1791 to August 25, 1867)

Michael Faraday was one of the fathers of our thinking on electricity and electrical theory – ever heard of Faraday’s Law of Induction?  Yeah, same Michael Faraday.  Faraday had his hands in a lot of electro-magnetic theory of his time, and we have lots of his contributions in use today, either directly or indirectly by people like James Clerk Maxwell:

  • obviously, Faraday’s Law (of Induction)
  • the Faraday Cage
  • the unit of capacitance, the Farad
  • the Faraday (magnitude of electric charge per mole of electrons – I told you I was a nerd)
  • Faraday’s first version of the electric motor

A model of Faraday’s early motor:

faraday_magnetic_rotor

Just in case you were wondering – Faraday’s Law states:

The induced electromotive force or EMF in any closed circuit is equal to the time rate of change of the magnetic flux through the circuit.

What does this mean?  In basic terms, it relates to how a magnetic field can generate an electric field.  When you have a magnet and you wrap some coils of wire around it and then spin the magnet in order to change the magnetic fields, you create an electromotive force, or EMF.  This force is referred to as voltage.  That is a really general,  basic definition – but nonetheless the gist.

It’s good to learn something every day!  Happy birthday, Michael Faraday!

My favorite Michael Faraday quote:  But still try, for who knows what is possible…

320,000 Kilowatt Hours Wasted Per Minute

Chris Jordan, an artist from Seattle who produces a lot of commentary work on consumerism, has produced a series of work called Running the Numbers.  In this work is a painting called Light Bulbs, which makes commentary on the 320,000 kilowatt-hours wasted by the United States every minute through things most of us probably don’t think of often – computers in stand-by, poorly engineered wiring, leaving the lights on, etc.

The work is huge, as in size – 72″ X 96″ (six feet by nine feet), and includes 320,000 images of a light bulb to represent each wasted kWh.

Actual detail size:

running-the-numbers-chirs-jordan

A little zoomed out:

running_the_numbers

Zoomed out:

running_the_numbers_chris_jordan

The works in Running the Numbers are all along this theme of over-consumption.  Check out some of his current works here, and check out his portfolio here.  Running The Numbers is showing at the Kopeikin Gallery in Hollywood until October 17, 2009.

ETC Wins A PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation for the Selador Line!

selador_wins_PLASA_2009

Electronic Theatre Controls, maker of the Source Four line of luminaires and the Ion, Eos, Congo, and Express lines of control consoles, won a PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation at this year’s conference for the Selador line of LED fixtures.  Congratulations, ETC!

The press release from the ETC newsroom:

Lighting, dimming and controls manufacturer ETC is celebrating after winning a coveted Innovation Award for the Selador LED range of fixtures at this year’s PLASA.

The award judges congratulated the ETC Selador fixtures for “taking a significant step towards the ultimate goal of energy efficient incandescent replacement lighting.” They continued by pointing out that “ETC has developed this LED fixture with a colour output that gets close to the spectral curve of traditional incandescent source, thereby making LED technology a step closer to wider use in theatres and similar applications.”

Outside of the awards, the PLASA show was, says ETC’s Promotions & Advertising Manager for Europe, Rosi Marx, a complete success, with product specialists giving demonstrations throughout the four days. “Although visitor numbers seemed to be down, in general we had a very busy stand,” she adds.

The Selador demonstrations weren’t the only ones grabbing visitors’ attention: ETC’s Unison Mosaic architectural control system, SmartBar 2 portable dimming and Element lighting control console were all extremely popular.

Element is ETC’s newest lighting desk and is designed with smaller theatrical venues and schools in mind. This no-fuss system targets conventional lighting control in smaller venues. Perfect for student and volunteer staff, Element redefines the basics of lighting control. When conventional accessories, LED fixtures or moving lights are added to the rig, the press of a button accesses the On Demand ML Controls, giving direct control of complex devices via a mouse or touch screen.

I’m looking forward to what’s next with Selador!

selador_comparison

WYSIWYG Wins A PLASA 2009 Award for Innovation!

plasa-wyg-innovation

Our beloved WYSIWYG won a PLASA Award for Innovation at Earl’s Court in London this last weekend – a well-deserved win for both Cast Lighting (and everyone who busts their rears there) and all of us WYSIWYG users.  WYSIWYG Release 24 has amazing real-time viz.  Amazing.  Render-quality amazing.  I am a fan after all, but I’ve used so many software suites over the years (from MiniCAD to Vectorworks to AutoCAD to SoftPlot to AGI32 to DiaLUX to Sketchup to you name it, I think I’ve used it), and as a lighting designer in no matter what genre of lighting, I still love my WYSIWYG.

From the PLASA Show website:

Cast Group of Companies, for the WYSIWYG R24. The plethora of LED display technology caused Cast to re-evaluate its design and visualisation software which has led to a significant redesign of the graphics engine and fixture attributes. It now allows the full visualisation of modern display technology including video and LED screens and their content.

From Entertainment Technology News:

From among 62 products entered, last night CAST Software walked away with a coveted PLASA09 Award for Innovation at Earls Court in London. The Award “recognises products which advance the industry by demonstrating a new style of thinking, improving technical practice, or taking a key step forward in terms of safety,” according to the Professional Lighting And Sound Association.

The Award was presented by Adam Afriyie MP, Shadow Minister for Innovation, Universities and Skills and was judged by a panel of eight independent judges drawn from across the industry. In making the Award, the judges explained: “the plethora of LED display technology caused CAST to re-evaluate its design and visualisation software which has led to a significant redesign of the graphics engine and fixture attributes. It now allows the full visualisation of modern display technology including video and LED screens and their content.”

Bruce Freeman, chairman of CAST Software and Gil Densham, president, accepted the Award at which time Freeman said, “WYSIWYG R24 is a total bottom-up rethink that delivers advances so revolutionary that they are ahead of the leading-edge! To assure that the system demands of the new features and visualisation in R24 are met with the same WYSIWYG speed and dependability, CAST designed and built a brand new proprietary engine. Now production professionals can model all the hottest new LED fixtures on a per diode basis and display them running in realtime. R24’s new visualisation incorporates the inverse square law feature and volumetric beams so WYSIWYG’s realtime Shaded View is really virtually real!”

Congratulations, Cast!

Boeing’s Airborne Laser (ABL) Being Tested- Video

samjackson-lasers-on-a-plane

I am fairly confused about how this thing is being touted among its specified community – first the ABL is on track, then it’s being scrapped.  Then it’s back in testing, then it’s scrapped.  I’m catching up on a few hundred websites now, but from about a week ago comes this video of the YAL-1 “laser on a plane” project being tested by Boeing.  In the video, the ABL (airborne laser) tracks an in-flight missile, lases it, and destroys it.

Just a note, this was neither the first test of this laser nor its huge chemical laser in play – it was a surrogate high-energy laser on the plane.  The missile was a 36 foot long Terrier Lynx/Black Brandt missile:

Here’s the press release from Boeing:

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Aug. 13, 2009 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA], industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency on Aug. 10 successfully completed the Airborne Laser’s (ABL) first in-flight test against an instrumented target missile, achieving a historic milestone.

During the test, the modified Boeing 747-400F aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base and used its infrared sensors to find a target missile launched from San Nicolas Island, Calif. The Boeing-developed battle management system aboard ABL then issued engagement and target location instructions to the beam control/fire control system, which acquired the target and fired its two solid-state illuminator lasers to track the target and measure atmospheric conditions. ABL then fired a surrogate high-energy laser at the target, simulating a missile intercept. Instrumentation on the target verified that the surrogate high-energy laser hit the target.

“This test demonstrates that the Airborne Laser can fully engage an in-flight missile with its battle management and beam control/fire control systems,” said Michael Rinn, Boeing vice president and ABL program director. “Pointing and focusing a laser beam on a target that is rocketing skyward at thousands of miles per hour is no easy task, but the Airborne Laser is uniquely able to do the job.”

The test follows ABL’s engagement of two un-instrumented missiles in early June, which allowed the team to fine-tune the engagement sequence.

ABL will now undergo flight tests in which the aircraft will fire its high-energy laser, first into an onboard calorimeter, then through its beam control/fire control system. The ABL team then will test the entire weapon system against in-flight missiles, culminating with ABL’s first high-energy laser intercept test against a ballistic missile later this year.

ABL would deter potential adversaries and provide speed-of-light capability to destroy all classes of ballistic missiles in their boost phase of flight. Eliminating missiles in their boost phase would reduce the number of shots required by other elements of the layered ballistic missile defense system.

“ABL’s revolutionary speed, mobility, precision and lethality would make it a great asset to America’s warfighters,” Rinn added.

Boeing is the prime contractor and overall systems integrator for ABL, and provides the modified aircraft and battle management system. Northrop Grumman supplies the high-energy laser, and Lockheed Martin provides the beam control/fire control system.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.

Thanks, Danger Room!

The Lighting Machine Project – “Happy Umbrella” at KTH

happy-umbrella-lighting-machine

Our class just finished the first module of study and our first major lighting project here at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan in Sweden.  Our first module of classes has just finished – an introduction of sorts to the world of light and lighting and a good way to bring everyone in the program to a level playing ground, so to speak.  There is a huge range of backgrounds in our class, and the instructors have done  a great job providing information to level the field.

The first project, called the Lighting Machine project, was the culmination of a week-long seminar on working with Dutch designer Willem Van Der Sluis.  Willem was in residence with us for a week, mentoring us through this project along with faculty professor Diana Joels.  Willem gave us a great lecture on working with light and an in-depth look into a few of his projects.  I’ll be chronicling some of Willem’s work in a post later this week.

The basic principles of Lighting Machine was that each group was to create a full-scale lighting machine that focused on the distribution of light rather than on the beauty and form of the machine itself.  We were to analyze our campus building for places we felt had illumination problems, and create this lighting machine to aid in the solution of this problem.  I created a video to describe our project and problem, but we took a positive outlook on the “problem.”  On the lowest level of our building there is a hallway full of patio umbrellas that are lit with low temperature (around 2700 degrees Kelvin) fluorescent lighting.  It’s a place where people hang out all day at different times during the day, and we sought to make it more happy.  Hence, our group and lighting machine was called “Happy Umbrella.”  Check out a few pictures of the space and of the building:

kth-haninge-umbrellas

kth-haninge-umbrellas

Lighting Machine was an interesting project on many levels.  First, we were assigned into groups of four people, each with a different background – architecture, interior design, lighting design, electrical engineering, you name it.  The program is being administered in English, but there is a wide variety of comprehension of the English language.  The language barrier makes communication interesting.  Drawings and sketches – visual communication – sometimes take the place of verbal communication in these situations.  We chose a handful of locations with what we perceived as problems, and came to a consensus as to which project we all liked – which ended up being the umbrella location project.  In the creation of the lighting machine, we were also given the choice of two light sources – a 50W T5 circular fluorescent, or a 40W halogen PAR20.  We chose to use both.

A long story short, we decided to provide the location with a feel of nature – the umbrella representative of a tree with a pattern, and the table with better illumination and contrast, as the overhead fluorescents provided next to none.  We invented an optical projector with a homemade template out of miscellaneous pieces and parts of reflectors and lenses, and a wash-type unit from the fluorescent.  Happy Umbrella also incorporated both the umbrella and the table as part of the product.

I’ve embedded two videos below – the first is an overview of the project (about seven minutes long), and the second is a quick explanation of the projector for the class.  These videos were something I made for the heck of it, just for the blog.  I did use the projector explanation video in the presentation of the Lighting Machine as a way to help explain how a projector works.

Project Overview:

Projector Explanation Video:

Happy Umbrella from below:

happy-umbrella-lighting-machine2

The Constellation Urine – Astronaut Pee

urine-dump

That’s right, kids – astronauts pee too!  Except they have to pee in some sort of space-porta-potty that probably doesn’t smell as bad as the ones at outdoor music festivals.  Yuck.  What you see above is the plume of a huge water and urine dump from shuttle Discovery this last week.  The shuttle, while docked with the International Space Station, sprayed about 150 pounds of waste water and pee-pee out into space on September 10 – as you can assume, independent shuttle trackers and other geeks flipped the $#%^ out.

“IS THE SHUTTLE ON FIRE?!  IS IT VENTING SOMETHING?”
Nope.  Just pee.  Here’s another picture from Space Weather (September 10 archive), which has some details on the extraurine activity.  BWAHA!

urine-dump-discovery

From the Space Weather website:

Sky watchers across North America witnessed a strange event on Wednesday night. As space shuttle Discovery glided silently overhead, the orbiter sprouted a flamboyant comet-like tail.

“The shuttle put on a major light show,” says Perry.

In Madison, Wisconsin, photographer Abe Megahed witnessed a similar display: “The shuttle was sporting a massive curved plume. What could it be? Something venting? Reaction Control System thrusters? A massive, record-breaking urine dump?”

Stop laughing. Shuttle pilot Kevin Ford was indeed scheduled to carry out a number of “waste water” dumps over a several hour period around the time of these observations. Pristine water supplies and condensates were also dumped overboard in preparation for landing on Thursday, Sept. 10th.

Thanks, Space.com!