SSL benefits from practical and virtual labs (MAGAZINE)

Our cover image and story for this issue of LEDs Magazine describes an interesting and innovative approach to pushing the development and deployment of LED-based lighting in municipal outdoor applications, including network capabilities and integration with smart city technology at the Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab (DOLL) in Denmark.

Feb 23rd, 2015
Solid-state lighting benefits from practical and virtual labs
Solid-state lighting benefits from practical and virtual labs

Our cover image and story for this issue of LEDs Magazine describes an interesting and innovative approach to pushing the development and deployment of LED-based lighting in municipal outdoor applications, including network capabilities and integration with smart city technology at the Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab (DOLL) in Denmark. Learning the details of the project made me wonder if the DOLL model might be one that the lighting industry should replicate in other application areas.

Three laboratories compose the centerpiece of the DOLL program: the Quality, Virtual, and Living Labs.

The Quality Lab allows detailed evaluation and characterization of SSL products. The Virtual and Living Labs are essentially clones of one another. The teams participating in DOLL can simulate an outdoor-lighting project in the Virtual Lab and optimize the concept before installing the project in a section of the Living Lab. Together, the three labs allow municipalities, lighting manufacturers, and researchers to quickly develop and trial future technologies.

Let's think about where else the SSL industry could apply the DOLL model. What about human-centric lighting (HCL)? There are many independent and small-scale trials, completed and underway, focused on how a tunable spectrum in SSL products could enhance our wellbeing and boost productivity. There is even a Human Centric Lighting Society advocating the technology. But there is nothing like DOLL in the HCL area.

Mark Rea, director of the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has called for the development of benefit metrics tied to applications such as HCL as the best way to move the SSL industry forward in a prosperous manner. A DOLL-like project could be a way to accomplish such a goal. Rea will address metrics again at the upcoming Strategies in Light conference, and we cover some of his thoughts in a show preview.

The HCL application still faces other significant hurdles. Some researchers are still pursuing the possibility that the blue energy in LED-based lighting can damage the human retina. We recently held a webcast on that topic, and most experts in the field believe that there is no risk from LEDs in typical lighting. But someone may need to prove it at some point.

The non-visual receptors in the human body are apparently the physiological key to HCL benefits. We covered that in an interview last fall. Researchers from the medical community are not in agreement as to whether we know enough to go forward with HCL.

So there are numerous areas in SSL that could benefit from the combination of research labs tied closely to real installations and trials. Even the home automation and adaptive lighting sectors would benefit from such an arrangement, as would life-science applications.

Don't misunderstand. I know there are research projects that combine lab and trial components. But DOLL offers integrated labs and opens its doors to allow interested parties around the globe to participate.

Maury Wright, Editor
mauryw@pennwell.com

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