LEDs Magazine News & Insights 21 Apr 2021 – Editor’s Column

April 21, 2021

Welcome to the LEDs Magazine News & Insights newsletter for Apr. 21, 2021. The long-awaited debut of mini/micro LED technology from Apple mercifully arrived yesterday. Now we can all exhale 😊. Some of the Apple fan boys have expected the technology to debut in a watch or tablet product for two years.

We didn’t cover the Apple event in a dedicated article because little of it was LED related. The 12.9-in. iPad Pro uses mini LEDs to backlight what Apple now calls the Liquid Retina display — an LCD with higher brightness and improved contrast ratio. For background, see our story on mini and micro LED technology following CES last year.

We do have an auto technology news story for this week that arguably might be considered a mini-LED story. I must say that thought did not occur to me as I wrote the story about Samsung’s PixCell headlamp module. But doing some quick math, the long side of the pixels in the LED device measure only 0.675 mm. That’s getting to mini-LED scale.

Still, the story is in the functionality. The LED module has 100 individually-controllable pixels and comes mounted on a printed-circuit board (PCB) that includes the driver components needed for such control. The design enables adaptive drive beam control in headlamps. Moreover, it enables much smaller form factors for LED headlamp assemblies.

I’ve griped in two recent newsletters about coming attractions in the next issue of the magazine, and yes, the April/May issue is now available for perusal on the digital magazine platform. The content has also been posted in HTML format. But here I find myself with a busy news week and the conundrum of what else to mention in this column.

I would suggest that you read about the latest Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) work on behalf of the DOE. The focus was tunable spectra in a simulated hospital patient room setting. The first phase of the study focused on nurses working in such a space and yielded mixed results. Later we will learn about how patients respond, and I would predict that phase of experiments will yield more dramatic results.

I’ll close this week with my column for the issue and a news article from this week focused on hurdling the barriers to wider adoption of connected solid-state lighting (SSL). In my issue column, I suggested that there was no easy way forward on dealing with the fractured landscape of connected lighting, which leads to an inherent interoperability obstacle. Looking back, it almost seems as if I was suggesting the industry give up on network connectivity, but that was not my intention. I meant to suggest that data and protocol standardization could help even as different physical networks are in play.

And recent news from the DALI Alliance is really heading down that exact path. Bluetooth and Zigbee Gateways to DALI will enable different physical networks to coexist while control and data protocols and formats traverse the different network types.

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]