Lighting impacts people and environments wherever it’s used, whether visible to the naked eye or not. It has the power to make us feel more stimulated and alert or to help us relax. Lighting used in public places determines how people operate within them, and how much energy is consumed.
It’s no surprise that designers are constantly looking to harness the benefits of lighting within products and projects. Exploring lighting technology and how we relate to it results in novel and forward-thinking ideas. See some of the innovations that have caught our eye in 2020.
Virus-killing sanitising lighting
— Dezeen (@dezeen) August 31, 2020
An Italian lighting brand, Artemide, has developed a method for sanitising rooms using ultraviolet (UV) light. The company has created lamps that emit antiviral UV light when people are not around. The patented technology is called Integralis and has the potential to kill pathogens, including viruses, to disinfect surfaces and the air.
Artemide CEO, Carlotta de Bevilacqua, told Dezeen Magazine “The light acts on everything it encounters in its path such as particles suspended in the air.” The article suggested the lamps would be combined with air filtering technology for maximum impact.
Invisible UV light can be harmful to humans and the lighting technology is designed to be used in empty offices or bathrooms, for instance. Short-wavelength UV light (UV-C) has previously been used to sanitise spaces like aeroplanes, and these lamps are progression of this.
The lamps aren’t the only example of lighting technology companies using the antiviral properties of UV for everyday purposes. Items including water filter pitchers and self-cleaning water bottles have been developed by the brand LARQ.
Lighting to get kids reading
A South Korean technology company called Naver Corp has developed a smart reading light for children. The product is called Clova Lamp and has been designed as an alternative to smartphones for independent learning and entertainment.
South Korean technology company Naver Corp has developed a smart reading light called Clova Lamp that helps children to cultivate healthy reading habits by narrating their books aloud. Read more at https://t.co/IM0B9ZMoyy via @dezeen
— Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (@DIDIDXB) August 31, 2020
The lamp helps children practice their reading, listening and concentration skills by narrating stories and books. Kids read along and the integrated virtual assistant helps them if they’re stuck on a word.
Computer vision and artificial intelligence translate the text and images into audio, reading the story aloud. The lamps sleek design with a warm light glow gives it a homely and unremarkable appearance, despite the extraordinary technology inside.
Smart LED lighting to kick start the green recovery
There are growing calls for governments and businesses to approach the post-pandemic economic downturn and the climate emergency with investment in green jobs. Smart LED lighting is an area with great potential in terms of employment and reducing carbon emissions.
Smart LED street lighting that detects footfall, for instance, can help cities use less electricity in public places. Large buildings and office spaces moving to smart and circadian lighting systems is another opportunity for greener and more productive lighting systems.
Lighting buildings for the people and how they use them makes sense. It limits wasted energy and creates more comfortable environments. Sensor and timed LED systems are the start of this shift and it’s a move that could save a lot in the long run.
In an article for Climate Change Now, lighting company Signify estimate a switch to LED could save Europe up to €40 billion and reduce carbon emissions by around 100 million tonnes per year.
Want to know more about circadian lighting rhythms? Read our blog ‘The Science Behind Effective Workplace Lighting.’
The world of lighting technology is constantly evolving and despite the setbacks of this year, there are promising signs for the technologies of the future. Whether it’s within our daily lives or as part of large scale developments, lighting will help us move forward and be more sustainable as we do.