Remember when we asked the 3-D printers to print us out a light? Apparently that’s really possible now. It’s still in development, but the idea is that microscopic diodes would mix with ink for colors, and get sealed between two sheets which would then have a current run through. When the current hits the diodes, they light up.
The implications for this are pretty huge — similar to OLED but perhaps more sustainable. Imagine the lit pictures you could print. Illuminated artwork would take a whole new angle. Printed light would be great for signage! The thinner, the better, and if they’re bright they can even be used for wayfinding. How can you see using printed light?
We know the beneficial effects of light on our bodies. Ideally, we’d all be working outside in natural light, keeping our circadian rhythms in sync and our vitamin D levels high! But since that isn’t the case for most of us, research such as this is critical.
Ten years in the making, the artificial skylight takes the same natural transformation light takes as it goes through Earth’s atmosphere and applies it on a smaller, lab-created level. With just millimeters of material, the light recreates Rayleigh scattering, the process that makes our sky appear blue. And you can see, the skylights appear blue but there is no blue light involved!
The effect causes the same lighting we appreciate outside — the same color temperature, the same saturation, the same overall quality. The inventor, Professor Paolo Di Trappani, used rendering software and a virtual spectrophotometer to achieve these results. And what great results they are! You can almost feel the warmth.
Sometimes, you just can’t find a fixture to fit the space you need it to, or you want an odd-shaped fixture, or you want to be able to quickly change the brightness. Well, now there’s a solution — a magnetic modular lighting system!
The more pieces you add, the brighter it is. There is also a dimming option. The magnets mean you can build it in almost any shape!
What applications can you see for this technology? Would this have far-reaching uses or would it remain a niche novelty?
We’ve all seen holograms before — in the movies. But now one company is working to bring the technology to life. Aerial Burton has created a 3-D display that doesn’t need anything for the light to bounce off of. Instead, lasers pulse and ionize molecules to create visible light in a 3-D dot matrix.
The technology is still being refined. One application is to project emergency information in evacuation situations. We could also envision using this technology to create basic images during a performance (Aerial Burton shows a disco ball, for instance — imagine that during Chicago). How do you see it evolving and growing?
Any lighting designer knows that light can affect your mood and your body. Looks like science and technology are catching up to this trick of the trade in a discreet but fun way!
Here in New England, Seasonal Affective Disorder can come on pretty suddenly (especially after winters such as this!). Doctors have prescribed light boxes for years to help combat the symptoms. One company has shrunk down this technology to fit in our ears. That’s right – light shone in your ears can combat SAD and raise your energy levels. Valkee’s Earlight looks just like headphone earbuds, so you can help your SAD symptoms discreetly and on the go. (It claims it will also help with your jetlag!)
It reminds AvLt of how we can focus small but bright spots of light to raise the energy level of a particular part of an exhibit. Nice to see light harnessed in such a practically useful way!