Philips’ Simplicity: The Wake Up Light

Philips is really rocking me lately.  They keep producing sleek, beautiful luminaires that have obviously been given some UX and usability thought and consideration.  The LivingColor lamp, the Light Blossom, the Philips LED sources – they are creating some very beautiful and usable pieces.  One that I just discovered – the Wake Up Light – is no different.

From the Philips press release about the Wake Up Light:

The Philips Wake-up Light is designed to gently wake the body the way nature intended – with light. From half an hour before your required wake-up time, the Philips Wake-up Light starts emitting light which gradually increases in intensity, simulating the rising sun in your bedroom. Your body will be gently prepared to wake-up so you feel refreshed and more alert when you finally open your eyes. In a survey eight out of ten users found the product easy to use, as its intuitive design means the product takes only a few minutes to set up on first use.

To make the experience even more pleasant the Wake-up Light incorporates three natural sounds to help you Wake-up in harmony. Choose from birds in the forest, sounds of the African jungle, soft chimes in the wind, a friendly beep or your favourite radio station for the ideal waking experience.  The new Wake-up Light has been redesigned to look better on your bedside table. Its new ergonomic design means that it is now smaller and even more practical to use. Its light intensity means you can use it as a reading light, it’s also eco-friendly thanks to its energy saving light bulb.

Some specs:

  • 30 minutes sunrise simulating process.
  • Light intensity up to 300 Lux such that light awakes you naturally.
  • Natural Wake-up sounds.
  • Light for easy reading.
  • Compact size for limited bed-side table space.
  • Elegantly hidden LED Display.
  • 9 minutes snooze function with sunrise replication (light and sound).
  • Alarm-test function, to check next morning’s light and sound settings and for demonstration in-store.
  • Energy saving lamp.

If you’re one of those people who has a hell of a time waking up in the morning – waking me has been compared to raising the dead on occasion – then check out this lamp!

Earth 911 – Where Do YOU Recycle Your Lamps?

I stumbled upon this website – Earth 911 – when looking for a place to recycle some CFLs.  The great thing about it is that you only need type in what you need to recycle and where you live – and it spits out a bunch of places near you that have recycling programs.

That is a wonderful thing.

Runners Up in the Metropolis Design Mag Competition

A little while ago I wrote the article about Civil Twilight and the Lunar Resonant Street Light, the winner of Metropolis Magazine’s Next Generation Award.  Metropolis had another article about the contest, displaying the runners up for this competition.  There were a solid number of light and lighting-centric ideas in this competition, and you need to see them!

Keep in mind that all the runners up had great projects – I’m showcasing the ones dealing with light as a medium.  See all of them here.

Alberto Villareal from San Francisco:

BrightWalk trainers let after-dark joggers put their expended energy to good use, lighting the way and alerting cars to their presence. Every time a sole strikes the ground, piezoelectric transducers convert the shock into electricity, which in turn stimulates electroluminescent polymers–low-heat-generating light sources–embedded in the shoe’s toe and heel. With a customizable upper, the sneaker allows sporty nocturnal types to exercise in safety and style. “This shoe introduces the concept of ‘empowered fashion,’” Villarreal says.

Boris von Bormann and Nik Hafermaas from Los Angeles

Von Bormann plans to brighten urban centers with his solar-powered light installations–a public-art project that he envisions as a poetic source of community pride. Initially conceived for the new “Innovation Corridor” in Pasadena, California, PowerSEEDs are decorative site-specific light sources that embed into pedestrian sidewalks or other sun-exposed surfaces. Individually controlled by programmable timing devices, they coordinate to create luminous displays. “You don’t need any wiring,” von Bormann explains. “You simply drop them in the ground.” As well as adding a lively touch to city landscapes, PowerSEEDs are meant to raise public awareness about renewable energy sources and blaze the trail for further positive innovations by demonstrating the possibilities of sustainable technologies. With the prototypes completed and plenty of ideas for future applications, von Bormann’s first installation is set to illuminate Pasadena streets at the end of the summer.

Eric Olsen from Ann Arbor, Michigan
Electro-Conductive Gypsum Wall Board

Olsen hopes his electro-conductive gypsum wallboard will eliminate the need for electric outlets altogether. By embedding flat-wire technology into low-cost fire-­resistant gypsum cladding, he’s created a working prototype for a conductive surface that could radically alter how we access electricity–we’d simply plug directly into an available piece of wall. Olsen believes that in addition to providing more flexibility in how we arrange our gadgets, his product can curb energy consumption by supplying electronics with only as much power as they need. His low-voltage wallboard eliminates the need for point-of-use transformers that reduce the current between the electrical source and the device. “Conventional wall outlets may be a thing of the past,” he says.

Jerad Tinnin from Wellington, New Zealand

Big ideas can come in small packages, as Tinnin dem­onstrates with this design for a diminutive LED desk lamp that monitors the energy consumption of its users. Tinnin understands that helping people visualize the environmental impact of their decisions is crucial for fostering energy-conscious consumers. Luminet connects to a computer, showing users not only their own contribution to greenhouse gas reduction and resource savings but the contributions of the entire Luminet community. As well as being an energy-efficient light source, the lamp has low embodied energy. To reduce the shipping burden, it comes in compact packaging, which when reversed becomes a prepaid parcel that can be mailed back for reuse or recycling. Users can even track the life cycle of their Luminet boxes online via their bar codes. “This product aims to represent a global community of conservation and thoughtfulness,” Tinnin says. “It’s a beautiful yet utilitarian desk light and a network of people making a simple change.”

All descriptions and images came from the Metropolis “Next Generation” website.  I wanted to give the lighting related folks a little love!

Video for Architectural Lighting Applications

One of my favorite applications of lighting design is lighting architecture for “performance based” or “presentation based” situations – whether it be the inside of a ballroom for a large presentation, the exterior of a building for a grand opening, or an art application utilizing architecture.  To take something as grand as architecture and play with light on the surface or interior for the sole purpose of presentation is so much fun, and I take great pleasure in its design.  I ran across a video by the company EasyWeb, which is a French video company specializing in video for architectural applications, like inaugurations or presentations, for example.  Check the reel out – it’s about seven minutes.

“Lumia Domestica,” by Willie Williams

U2 lighting designer/director and rock and roll lighting legend Willie Williams has busted into the world of art lighting installations.  The show is closed at this point (December 12), but it occured at the gallery Wallspace, the art venue at All Hallows on the Wall in London.

The original article at TPI is a good read – my favorite quote about the exhibit, from Williams:

“This show serves two purposes,” he explained. “Firstly, it’s an end in itself because it’s an absolute joy to work on this scale with no brief and no client, just completely for myself. But also it really helps to realign the way I think about lighting.

HP’s Flexible Screen – “Virtually Indestructible”

Before HP decides to call something “virtually indestructible,” they should send it out on a rock and roll tour first.

HP, in conjunction with Arizona State University’s Flexible Display Center just announced a prototype of a computer screen – a very, very light computer screen – that’s supposed to just rock the display market.  This stuff is manufactured similarly to the way that “thin film” photovoltaics are manufactured – a roll-to-roll process where the screens are pretty much printed onto “virtually indestructible” plastic sheets.  They’re cheaper and more efficient than conventional screens according to Inhabitat, and they use up to 90% less material to produce.

From the Inhabitat article – regarding the technology that’s being implemented in the creation of these screens:

ASU’s Flexible Display Center has been working on flexible display technology in partnership with corporations as well as the US Army. HP likewise has been an innovator in many electronic technologies, including the technology that makes this new prototype possible – Self-Aligned Imprint Lithography (SAIL), which was invented at HP Labs. As HP explains, “SAIL technology enables the fabrication of thin film transistor arrays on a flexible plastic material in a low-cost, roll-to-roll manufacturing process. This allows for more cost-effective continuous production, rather than batch sheet-to-sheet production.”

Philips is Giving Lighting Professionals an “OLED Starter Kit”

I was combing through press releases at Philips this afternoon when I discovered a very cool press release – Philips lighting is giving lighting designers, architects, and “creatives” an OLED starter kit of sorts!  From the press release:

Philips is offering lighting designers, architects and creatives from all disciplines a unique OLED technology ‘starter kit’, so that they can discover for themselves why OLEDs are going to be the lighting sensation of the coming years. This kit includes an information pack and DVD explaining the technology behind OLEDs and outlining possible future applications. It contains several OLEDs of various shapes, structures and colors, enabling people to experiment with and experience the amazing effects of OLEDs for themselves. More details about how to use the OLED samples are included in the information pack.


DoE’s 200 kWh Sun Wall

Solomon Cordwell Buenz, a Chicago-based architecture firm, has won the US DoE’s Solar Wall Competition, with a “sun wall” measuring 32,000 square feet and covering the southern part of the the Department of Energy’s Washington DC headquarters.  I tried the link to the DoE SUn Wall competition site, but I kept getting a 404.  You’re more than welcome to try visiting.

From the Solomon Cordwell Buenz site on the project:

SCB, in partnership with ARUP New York, produced the winning design for the Department of Energy’s Solar Wall Competition.   SCB’s 32,000sf  “Sun Wall” covers the south elevation of the DOE’s Washington, D.C.  Headquarters building.  The Wall is expected to generate 200 kw of electricity through a combination of photovoltaic panels and evacuated tubes for hot water.  The DOE asked entrants for a “visually exciting” and technologically advanced project.

The project will generate around 200 kWh of power, and will be the largest integrated project of its kind in any federal building.  One of the things we don’t know is the cost of the construction for the project.  Hmm.

Cree’s LEDs and the Pentagon

Major LED manufacturer Cree was just awarded a contract to replace a whole ton of fluorescent fixtures in the Pentagon for their LED fixtures – more than 4200 recessed lighting fixtures, to be exact.  The Cree LED fixtures that the Pentagon contracted for purchase retain at about $380 a pop.  These fixtures, referred to as LR24’s, have created energy savings of somewhere in the neighborhood of 22% in government testing.  Apparently (from the source at the US DoE) LEDs saved the government around 8.7 trillion bucks in 2007.

So, 4200 X $380 = $1,596,000, right?  Probably not.  But wow.

Pentagon test room before Cree:

Pentagon test room AFTER Cree’s LEDs:

This project was funded under a project within DoD called Title III.  Title III was created to “promote creation and strengthening of domestic industrial capabilities to support national security needs.”

Thanks to CleanTechnica, EcoGeek, and Earth2Tech!

Philips’ Simplicity: The Light Blossom Concept

If you’ve been paying attention to the lighting industry lately, you would have noticed a trend to revolutionize and reinvent a concept that is so unbelievably important to everyone – street lighting and civil lighting projects.  From street lights that resonate with the intensity of the reflected light from the moon, to LED street lamps that have revolutionary shapes and infrastructure, to a lamp that is nearly the size of a Tic Tac and produces so much light without any electrodes that it’s almost unbelievable.

Philips has invented yet another street light/civil lighting concept that was revealed a few months ago called the Light Blossom.  This unique idea seems to stem from the fight against “light pollution,” and from Philips’ own mouth – Light Blossom is “a pole that harnesses renewable energy during the day, and shines only the necessary light at night.”

What makes this concept so unique is its ability to not only harvest light in several ways, but to also monitor how much light it outputs, with careful consideration being given to wasteful energy expenditure.  When the sun shines, the Light Blossom opens up, soaking in and collecting all of the available sunlight and storing it in the trunk of the fixture.  On cloudy, sunless, windy days – when the wind blows, the Light Blossom tilts its leaves up in a sort-of turbine position, spinning and generating energy that is also stored.  Light Blossom converts back and forth with the changes in the weather too, so as to not waste any opportunity to grab and store energy for the latter part of the day when it will be most needed.

Light Blossom runs at the minimum amount of illumination at night when no one is around – enough to maintain safety – and when people are present, Light Blossom provides comforting light for those around.  The best part of this is that Light Blossom requires a total of ZERO electricity from the grid.

Philips, I gotta say that is pretty damned cool.  Check out more about Light Blossom here.  Also, thanks to Flickr user “tuexperto” for his great Light Blossom photos.