LEDs Magazine News & Insights 30 Dec 2020 – Editor’s Column

Dec. 30, 2020

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Dec. 30, 2020. Next year is almost in our grasp. But we are not near celebration time in most corners of the globe. The burden felt by our front-line health workers has passed unbearable. My wish for the new year is that the workers and critical supplies can hold out a bit longer, through one more pandemic surge as the vaccine begins to win. But my cloudy crystal ball suggests a rough start to 2021. Be safe over this holiday weekend.

What had been a pretty busy technology flow in December came to a halt about a week to ten days ago. That slowdown was really no surprise. Indeed, Q4 2020 showed an uptick in business activity across LEDs and solid-state lighting (SSL) and we should be thankful for that momentum from an economic perspective.

It’s fitting that our three most recent news articles reflect the three most significant LED and lighting markets for 2020 — horticultural lighting, human-centric lighting, and germicidal ultraviolet (UV) lighting. These should be strong markets in 2021 as well.

I found the article our Mark Halper wrote about a wearable sensor development at Penn State University very interesting. Part of our LED and SSL industries’ technology problem is closing the proverbial loop anytime there is intelligence in a system. Whether we are talking smart buildings, human-centric lighting, horticultural applications, or many more, our systems too often run in open-loop mode. We have little or no sensing. The Penn State team has developed a portable sensor that’s wearable and that can track UV exposure, spectral power distribution exposure (SPD), and more cross-referenced with duration and intensity.

I know myself that it’s hard to decide what your circadian system might need even if you have some insight into the technology. I wonder about going with a full-brimmed hat pulled low and good sunglasses, versus getting some dose of sun to my skin and eyes each day. Ultimately, a sensor like Penn State has developed combined with a mobile phone may do more than a smartwatch to improve our health. Moreover, kids may need it more than adults in some cases. In the spring of 2019, we published a feature about the growing problem of myopia attributable to lack of sunlight exposure.

We do as usual have a story for you on germicidal UV lighting. It’s a mashup of recent news. If you have any interest in the subject, make sure you get a copy of the new paper published by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Our latest horticultural lighting story, meanwhile, has yet another slant on interlighting of vegetable/fruit crops in controlled environment agriculture. I long thought interlighting was a very good idea. Our keynote speaker Bruce Bugbee had me thinking differently after HortiCann Light + Tech in October. But now I’m leaning back the other way.

Please have a restful and safe holiday weekend with members of your household.

You will find many more stories of interest in the body of today’s newsletter. And always feel free to contact me to discuss content we post or to pitch a contributed article.

- Maury Wright, (858) 748-6785, [email protected]