SSL Technology Update: Zigbee Light Link; Biologically-optimized LEDs and DOE developments (June 18, 2012)

In this week's technology update video, we cover Zigbee Light Link developments, LEDs in life science, and DOE funding and Caliper test news.

Texas Instruments demonstrated a smart-lighting platform at the Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan, while both TI and Atmel announced microcontroller platforms that have been certified to the ZigBee Light Link standard for residential LED lighting.

The ZigBee Light Link standard promises to offer consumers a plug-and-play method of wirelessly linking sensors, switches and LED lighting products. IC makers Texas Instruments (TI) and Atmel have developed Golden Unit implementations against which compliant end-use products will be certified. Both companies have based the solid-state lighting-centric platforms on microcontrollers that host a ZigBee software stack.

The TI demonstration at Computex included an Android smart phone as a controller, a low-cost wireless gateway, and ZigBee-based LED lighting. Ultimately, Light Link should allow consumers to easily pair ZigBee products with the option of installing a dedicated controller.

Atmel gained Golden Unit status for its ATmega128RFA1 wireless MCU. The company also announced a wireless evaluation kit that costs $479 including a ZigBee Light Link software stack that can accelerate product development.

LEDs in life sciences

Students working under artificial LED lighting designed to simulate daylight showed improved concentration and classroom performance.

A study conducted by the Transfer Centre for Neuroscience and Learning in Ulm, Germany investigated the effects of light on the performance of students at two local schools for 17 to 20-year-olds. The research took place in conjunction with lighting manufacturer Osram between November 2011 and February 2012. The study revealed that students working under biologically-optimized classroom lighting achieved better results than a comparison group in standardized tests for concentration ability. Their performance speed also increased.

The lighting utilized blue and white LEDs and was manufactured by Osram subsidiary Siteco. Researchers noted that the students were particularly more alert earlier in the day when exposed to the broad-spectrum light.

DOE funding and Caliper test results

We've had news from the DOE's solid-state lighting program on both the funding and testing fronts.

Starting with funding, the DOE announced $7.1 million in new funding as part of its third round of support for solid-state lighting manufacturing research and development. Unfortunately, congressional budget cuts mean no new funding for core research and product development in the LED area this year. The new funding goes to Cree and KLA Tencor in the LED area and K-space Associates for OLEDs.

Meanwhile, the latest DOE Caliper report that characterizes the electrical and photometric performance of commercially available luminaires focused on LED flood lights. The LED lights delivered an efficacy advantage but failed to match the light output of metal-halide flood lights. The DOE says the LED lights need greater output, narrower beam patterns, and more accessories to mount serious competition.

That's it for this week's LEDs Magazine solid-state lighting technology update. Join us next week, and at www.ledsmagazine.com and at our new website dedicated to general lighting at www.illuminationinfocus.com.

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