Saturday, March 17, 2007

Powerful Little Light: LED With 1,000 Lumens

Lights is perhaps something we take for granted but have you tried living without electric lights? I haven't, though I have spent some time in places where there are no electric lights. The people who live there have all sorts of ways to create light when there's no electric lights.. like, candles. Anyway the ability to have light when it's dark is one of the miracles of the modern age. But it's also a curse of sorts because electric lighting has become so ubiquitous that it's using a tremendous amount of power. The most common light bulb, the incandescent bulb, wastes 95% of the energy sent into the bulb, yet the companies that make them have done a great job keeping costs down, and the inexpensive price is a barrier to entry for any other product.

There are two sorts of electric lights which are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. The compact fluorescent is about 3x as efficient, and those bulbs last 10x longer (or thereabouts) so the higher price for the compact fluorescent pays for itself over the life of the bulb but I suspect the much higher price puts off most people and hence they are not so popular. However LED lighting is even more efficient, using about 1 percent the power required for an incandescent bulb, while lasting hundreds of times longer. Unfortunately LED bulbs which could adequately light a room were astronomically expensive and almost nobody knows these exist much less own any.

Osram has developed a small light-emitting diode spotlight that achieves an output of more than 1,000 lumens for the first time. That's the same brightness as a 75 watt bulb.

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