Lamp form remains important, SSL takes new shape at LFI (MAGAZINE)

July 17, 2012
The sentiment at Lightfair this year had moved beyond the idea of LEDs becoming the predominant light source toward consideration of what only can be accomplished with SSL, report Laura Peters and Maury Wright.

This article was published in the July/August 2012 issue of LEDs Magazine.

View the Table of Contents and download the PDF file of the complete July/August 2012 issue, or view the E-zine version in your browser.


It was once again difficult to find products that weren’t LED based on the 2012 Lightfair International (LFI) exhibit floor. Still, there was a new feeling to the show as the industry begins to consider what new can be accomplished with LED sources that has been impossible with legacy sources. SSL products in traditional forms such as retrofit lamps remained hot, but new form factors and concepts were far more exciting.

Indeed, one of the keynotes took what LEDs make possible to an extreme. Paul Debevec, associate director of graphics research for the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, presented “Avatar and beyond: Lighting Hollywood’s real and virtual actors.” Debevec has been involved with a number of Hollywood films in which photo-realistic digital actors have been used in the place of human actors.

It turns out that a key to realistically animating faces – including facial expressions and lips during speech – is accurately capturing the way the real actor’s face looks under various lighting conditions. “We record how a person’s face looks like from a unit intensity white light source from every direction,” said Debevec. “What we want to do is show what they look like under all of these different colors and intensities.”

Early on, Debevec’s work enabled the replacement of an actor’s face with a virtual copy in some relatively-far-off scenes. One reason a director might want to do so is to have more freedom in lighting and shading. More recently in movies such as “The curious case of Benjamin Button,” an animated face was used in much of the movie, including in close-up speaking scenes, when Brad Pitt’s character was very old. Debevec said traditional old-age makeup wouldn’t deliver the realism that the director wanted, but a virtual actor did.

Debevec’s team can only work its magic with LED lighting that they use in what’s called a “Light Stage” where LED lamps surround an actor and computers scan the lit face. The latest light stage that enables capture of full-body data uses 6,666 LED sources. The LED lights are controllable by a computer in groups of six and the patterns can be changed 20,000 times per second. Debevec said only LED sources are bright enough and can respond quickly enough for the task at hand. If you missed the keynote, see examples of Debevec’s work at

Moving from the fringe to the mainstream, think about LEDs in several ways to get a sense of the LFI 2012 exhibits. LED sources enable traditional lamps that outperform legacy sources. LEDs enable all new form factors. And via compatibility with control technologies, LEDs will make ubiquitous smart lighting happen. We provide examples of all of the above in the following pages.

Retrofit lamps

The lure of more efficient light sources for the existing Edison socket keeps driving the retrofit lamp trend. The big news at LFI 2012 was lamp announcements designed to replace the 100W incandescent lamp. It appears we will see the first such products on the market later this year. Most will be in the A21 form factor with a maximum globe diameter of 2 5/8 in as supposed to the A19 from factor with a diameter of 2 3/8 in. GE Lighting, however, says it will deliver a true A19 retrofit. We also saw new PAR and BR retrofit lamps. And the report on MR16 lamps that ran in our June issue included some LFI news in that area.

11. Philips Lighting's 100W-equivalent lamp looks very similar to the existing EnduraLED family of products that’s available in up to 75W-equivalent versions. The familiar remote-phosphor design uses four optical segments in the 100W version. Philips says that its 23W design will produce almost 1700 lm and that the product will be available in the 4th quarter. Philips also introduced new PAR directional and BR diffused lamps in the EnduraLED family that integrate a thermal design that the company calls AirFlux (pictured). The design uses air channels for cooling but eliminates the bulky cooling fins that are common on retrofit lamps. Philips said the lamps offer 75% energy savings relative to legacy sources.
22. Osram Sylvania may well be first to market with a 100W-equivalent lamp. In deed the company had shown a prototype of the product at LFI last year. The company said it will ship the product as part of its Ultra A-line family this summer. Switch Lighting has made numerous announcements about 100W-equivalent lamps, but despite bravado has yet to ship products. The products demonstrated at LFI, including a 3-way lamp, appear to have been refined from earlier designs with a new mounting structure for the LEDs inside the liquid-filled dome. Perhaps the biggest surprise at LFI came from Intematix as the phosphor specialist showed what the company said was a ready-to-manufacture 100W-equivalent reference design using a ChromaLit Contour optic.
33. GE Lighting announced its Energy Smart 100W-equivalent lamp that delivers 1600 lm and a relatively-warm 3000K CCT. The company says the lamp will dissipate 27W and will be rated for 25,000 hours of life. The thermal scheme used in the GE lamp is significant in that it is in part responsible for the A19 size and is the only announced mainstream retrofit lamp that will use active cooling. The design uses a Nuventix SynJet cooler that relies on a moving diaphragm to create cooling pulses of air. GE has both invested in Nuventix and licensed technology from the company. Presumably the enhanced thermal design enabled a smaller-diameter globe. Still, the GE lamp won’t ship until the first quarter of 2013.

Adaptive controls

We expected to see a lot of adaptive control technology at LFI, and that was certainly the case. What was perhaps surprising was the fact that many players remain focused on proprietary approaches to networks that connect lighting products ( Leading up to LFI, we carried several articles about ZigBee wireless networks and a maturation of the ZigBee standards for lighting ( There was some evident support for ZigBee but it’s not clear that the industry sees the technology as ubiquitous. There was a startup called Ketra lurking off the show floor that had some really revolutionary ideas about how to integrate controls and optical communications using the same LEDs that produce light as sensors (

44. Philips Lighting was the biggest name at LFI with ZigBee-based products on display. Indeed, the company showed the previously-announced OccuSwitch Wireless Occupancy Sensor that combines a sensor and a ZigBee-enabled wall switch. At LFI, the company also announced the OccuSwitch Wireless LightManager (pictured). That product, however, appears to be a private-labeled version of Daintree’s Wireless Access Controller.
55. Daintree Networks has been the most vocal supporter of ZigBee wireless technology. Moreover, the company is adamant that implementations meet a full stack of ZigBee standards whereas some companies use lower layers of the ZigBee network stack with proprietary additions. Daintree exhibited its ControlScope system and a new array of ZigBee wireless adapters that can be integrated into luminaires (pictured). It’s also worth noting that Cree partners with many companies and Daintree recently announced a ZigBee installation with Cree luminaires (
66. Lutron and Cree Lighting announced a partnership around the former’s EcoSystem wired lighting network and control technology that’s targeted at commercial building applications. Cree will offer a version of its CR family ( of troffers preconfigured with EcoSystem.
77. Cooper Controls announced the AP Classroom Solution (APCS) turnkey control system designed for individual classrooms. The value add of the offering comes in easy commissioning.

Linear SSL

Linear lighting can refer to a broad range of product types from cove or under-counter fixtures to the ubiquitous ceiling troffers. We’ll stick with the broad definition here, allowing us to cover LFI exhibits ranging from retrofit lamps for fluorescent T8 tubes to truly spectacular pendants. Linear SSL is also proving to be a popular landing spot for the emerging class of mid-power packaged LEDs ( that we covered in our previous issue. Lower-power, dimmer sources mounted more closely together can in some cases provide a more pleasing look than more-sparsely-spaced, brighter LEDs. LED sources are quickly taking over in purpose-built linear luminaires, and are apparently finally gaining a foothold in the tube retrofit area.

88. Next Lighting took the proverbial blank-sheet-of-paper approach to the problem of designing an LED-based retrofit lamp for fluorescent tubes – they forgot the tube. The company is using thermoplastics to injection mold a linear structure that forms the basis of its NextLamp retrofit lamp. The design includes a center chimney for heat dissipation, and oval surfaces on each side designed to reflect light. LEDs mount along both sides of the centerline of the structure pointed outward into the reflector. Next says that testing has measured the lamp’s case temperature at 51°C, allowing the company to specify a 50,000-hr life. The lamp's output is 3500 lm, and the product is due on the market in the third quarter.
99. Cree Lighting was among the first manufacturers to design purpose-built linear fixtures that seek to replace tube-based troffer fixtures as we covered in our LFI 2011 article. The company has since expanded the offering and found a way to pack the technology into a retrofit kit. The CR24 UPKIT is designed for mounting in an existing tube-based troffer fixture. You remove the guts of the florescent unit and mount the new SSL fixture from below. Cree also demonstrated the new CS Series of linear SSL fixtures. Unlike the CR series, the CS products don’t include a lens, and the LEDs shine upwards into a reflector that distributes the light (

Philips Lighting showed a brand new product from its Lightolier brand that was so new that it was left out of the company’s LFI press kit. The suspended LED Linear DC Pendant is a perfect example of a fixture that could only be realized with LED sources. Designed for indirect up light, the luminaire has a 1×1-in cross section. The driver is mounted in the ceiling. Philips said it will come in 4-ft, 2300- and 3000-lm versions, and later in a direct-light version projecting light downward.

Outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting is one area where you might not expect LEDs to fundamentally change the form of products. Or maybe you should. As we covered back in April, Cree Lighting turned to the famed lighting design firm Speirs+Major for the design of the Aeroblades street and area light, and the result is unlike any street light that you have seen before ( Well the remainder of the outdoor products announced at LFI weren’t quite so different. But it’s clear that lighting companies are really attacking the problems of cost and design for application. For example, Cree showed a previously unannounced post-top retrofit kit that it will customize for specific acorn-style fixtures that are widely deployed.

1010. Schreder Lighting also turned to a renowned designer, Michel Tortel, for guidance with its Piano family of fixtures. The luminaire has a sleek striking appearance and there is certainly no room for a legacy source in the form factor. Moreover, the design encourages airflow and is an element in what the company calls the Thermix thermal-management system. The luminaire is rated for 100,000 hrs of life. Schreder also demonstrated its Focal fixture that is designed to light outdoor spaces such as athletic fields.
1111. Carmanah Technologies was among a number of companies at LFI with solar-powered outdoor SSL products. The company announced the EG145 LED street light that is designed to produce 3000 lm from dusk to dawn for path, area, and urban roadway lighting. The design is hardened for installation in tropical, coastal, and desert regions. Carmanah says the rather large solar panel can handle wind-load as high as 150 mph. The complete system includes the solar panel, charge controller, battery, driver, and luminaire.
1212. Lighting Science Group (LSG) brought adaptive controls to the fore in the outdoor-lighting space at LFI with the introduction of the Forefront luminaires with PixelView occupancy sensing. Existing occupancy sensors work well in garages and in outdoor spaces with low pole heights, but with higher poles produce false results. “In the past, we used passive infrared, but what you find in different applications and in very cold or very hot climates, you can get dead zones where performance drops off,” said David Henderson, chief development officer of LSG. PixelView uses a CMOS camera that can be programmed to focus on a particular area of an outdoor space. The Forefront fixtures are designed to replace 100-750W HID sources.