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Yankees Squint and Flail Under the Dim Lights of Their Spring Training Stadium

Yankees Squint and Flail Under the Dim Lights of Their Spring Training Stadium
By Billy Witz

The Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez is 0 for 10 in four night games at George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the lighting is weak. Credit Kim Klement/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

TAMPA, Fla. — As the sun set behind George M. Steinbrenner Field on Thursday night, the lights atop the eight towers strained to illuminate the baseball game below.

The stands, except for a sliver of light that touched the edge of the dugouts, were bathed in darkness. Batters standing in the on-deck circle managed to create shadows. The field itself seemed lit by flashlights with dying batteries.

Though the familiar frieze of Yankee Stadium rings this 20-year-old stadium, which is also used for the team’s Class A club, the lights represent just how far it is from the big city.


“Could it be better?” said Yankees third baseman Chase Headley, who is in his first spring training with the team. “Sure.”

But Headley, like others, was quick to say he was not complaining.

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Most major leaguers understand that when they come to Florida and Arizona to prepare for the regular season, they will play some games under less than luminous conditions. Playing for the Yankees usually means playing more of them.

The Yankees, who have one night game remaining in Florida — at home Tuesday against Detroit — will have played seven night games during spring training, which, along with Atlanta, is the most among baseball’s 30 teams. The Mets will have played two during their time in Florida, while St. Louis and Tampa Bay have no night games.

The Yankees have traditionally played more night games than most teams, if not all. This is done, according to a team spokesman, so the Yankees can cater to different clienteles — out-of-towners who are happy to soak up the sun as they watch baseball and local fans who might appreciate the convenience of not having to miss school or work to attend weekday games. Night games are also often preferable for corporate clients.

In addition, television networks have shown an increasing interest in night games. ESPN broadcast Thursday’s game along with the Yankees’ YES network, which is broadcasting 15 spring training games, including four of the five home night games.

“There’s money to be made, and if the Red Sox or the Yankees have the opportunity to make some extra money by playing at night, they’re entitled to do that,” pitcher Andrew Miller said.

Not all fields are lit the same. When the Braves hosted the Yankees on Wednesday, the game started at 6:05 p.m., long before sunset. When the sky finally darkened, midway through the game, the field was illuminated like a big league ballpark. But for teams with older parks, like the Yankees, or the Blue Jays in Dunedin or the Pirates in Bradenton, the lighting is not so good. The Pirates play only one home night game this spring, the Blue Jays none.

Playing at night under these conditions can create unusual circumstances. Pitcher Adam Warren said he once had difficulty making out a catcher’s signs. A fielder might get a poor read on a ball, as center fielder Slade Heathcott appeared to do on a line drive hit right at him Thursday night.

But mostly batters are affected. Consider Alex Rodriguez. He is 0 for 10 with three strikeouts in four night games, all at Steinbrenner Field. In his other games, all played during the day, he was 7 for 16 with two home runs and a double through Friday.

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When Rodriguez struck out in the final at-bat of his first night game this month, on three pitches, he said with a laugh that he had not seen any of the pitches.

“Certainly in spring training, I always see the ball better in day games,” Rodriguez said Friday afternoon after hitting a home run off Tigers pitcher Bruce Rondon. “I can’t say it’s the same thing during the season because you have big league lighting, but that’s not an excuse for anything that I’ve done that’s been a shortcoming.”

Few Yankees had any real gripes. They have played in such conditions in the minor leagues, and some, like Warren, said they preferred the excitement of night games despite the poor lighting. Headley said night games helped prepare for the regular-season schedule, which is overwhelmingly filled with night games.

“The games don’t count, so there’s not a whole lot of complaining,” said Miller, the reliever.

Manager Joe Girardi said the substandard lighting was probably why the Yankees’ home games had tended to be low scoring. Only once in four games has a team scored more than four runs.

“If you see them take a bad swing, sometimes it’s more difficult — they’re not going to see the ball like they do when we get home and get on the road in major league stadiums,” Girardi said. “If a guy has a bad day, I don’t make too much out of it.”

This is especially good news for Rodriguez, who looked like a different hitter Friday from what he did Thursday night, when he struck out in his last at-bat, flailing at a curveball from Andy Oliver. On Friday, he was ahead in the count, pulled two fastballs that he grounded out on and then hit a mid-90-mile per hour fastball from Rondon just over the right-field wall.

“Even today, after my second at-bat, I was telling myself: Man, I’m seeing the ball really well. I’ve got to relax.’ ” Rodriguez said. “I had to trust my eyes.”

The difference was like night and day.

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Philips Hue Go Offers Smart Lighting Without The Cord

Philips Hue Go Offers Smart Lighting Without The Cord
Posted April 6th, 2015
by Darrell Etherington

Philips has a new addition to their Hue smart lighting system: The Hue Go, a portable light that packs three hours of use on a full charge before it needs to be plugged in again. The Hue Go has a single button that offers local control over light tone and dynamic effects, as well as a low power standby mode and auto dimming to maximize usage on the go. The Hue Go resembles some of Philips existing efforts to create companion accent lights separate from its connected bulbs, like the LivingColors Iris and Bloom, but with the unique feature of a built-in battery. It’s a semi-spherical gadget encased in translucent hard plastic, capable of outputting light of any color just like the primary Hue bulbs, as well as a range of white tones. The portability aspect offers freedom from fixed installation points, however.

In practice, the Hue Go is a useful utility light for any scenario where you need a moderate amount of omnidirectional lighting. It’s very handy for exploring deep closet corners, for instance, or for providing a bit of patio lighting that marries a nice ambiance with decent visibility. It also has the ability to act as a gradual wake-up light when plugged in on a bedside table, mimicking a gradual sunrise with alarm functions programmed through the Hue app. The Hue Go can output at up to 300 lumens when plugged in, but cuts it to 40 percent brightness when used unplugged to maximums battery, which gives you a pleasing but dim kind of ambient lighting. Overall, it’s plenty bright for most cases where you’d be using a portable lighting solution anyway, especially given that this isn’t a work light designed for the workshop, for instance. It’s also compatible with third-party Hue apps, and can be included in any scenes you program using your Hue app and existing Hue system. It’ll retail for $99.95 when it goes on sale at Apple Stores, Best Buy and Amazon in the U.S. by the end of May or the beginning of June, which is a good deal considering the cost of standalone sunrise simulation wake-up lights. A $100 ‘bowl of light’ may not be at the top of everyone’s needs list, but it could definitely prove a useful addition to existing Hue setups.

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Sun Qinghuan Poised to Be Billionaire on IPO of China’s MLS

Sun Qinghuan Poised to Be Billionaire on IPO of China’s MLS
by Sterling Wong
February 9, 2015
(Bloomberg) — Sun Qinghuan, chairman of MLS Co., China’s biggest LED manufacturer, is poised to become a billionaire with an initial public offering.MLS is planning to sell 44.5 million shares for 21.5 yuan ($3.44) on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, according to a filing on Feb. 9. Sun will own about 357 million shares after the IPO, giving him a net worth of about $1.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.Sun, 42, joins a rising number of Chinese entrepreneurs who have become billionaires as investors drive up the values of newly traded companies. The light-bulb maker last year was ranked the world’s 10th-biggest for packaged LED, or light-emitting diode, according to market research firm IHS Technology.“It’s grown to become a big company,” said Alice Tao, a LED and lighting industry analyst at IHS in Shanghai. “In China, there are very few other LED companies that has that kind of size and scale to compete with global LED manufacturers like Samsung, Osram or Philips.”
The IPO was 65 times oversubscribed, according the company’s filing. The Shenzhen Composite Index, tracking the smaller of China’s two stock exchanges, rose 1.6 percent at the close, the first gain in a week.
An MLS representative who answered the company’s main phone line declined to comment ahead of the IPO.
MLS products are used in computer appliances, traffic lights and shopping malls, according to its website. Its product line-up and research and development innovation are among its strengths, Changjiang Securities said in a report earlier this month. The firm expects MLS shares to trade between 26 yuan to 33 yuan after their debut.

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Surface-emissive OLED panels mature slowly, remain spectacular (MAGAZINE)

Surface-emissive OLED panels mature slowly, remain spectacular (MAGAZINE)
Published on: Feb 13, 2014
By Maury Wright
Editor, LEDs Magazine and Illumination in Focus

Over the past year, manufacturers of OLED panels have improved color performance and lifetime, but as MAURY WRIGHT reports, high cost remains an issue that limits the technology to niche applications.

The surface-emission characteristic of OLED (organic LED) technology that produces inherently diffuse and glare-free light continues to entice the lighting industry with spectacular aesthetics. The allure will grow as manufacturers continue to improve the color rendering and longevity of the panels. It appears, however, that cost will remain a barrier to mainstream use so the question will become how much of a premium customers will pay for dramatic OLED lighting. The answer, unknown for now, will determine how deeply OLEDs penetrate the lighting industry. Still, OLEDs are delivering today in niche applications for which neither LEDs nor legacy sources would suffice.

We last covered OLED technology in depth in mid-2012 in an Illumination in Focus article. At that time, much of the discussion centered on how OLED efficacy was trailing the efficacy of inorganic-LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) and on the high manufacturing cost of OLEDs. OLED panel makers have made progress on both fronts. But the bad news is that the mainstream LED industry is moving even faster. Even if the OLED industry could outperform the US Department of Energy (DOE) roadmap we discussed in the prior article, the gap relative to LED cost and efficacy could broaden by 2020.

Judges for the Lighting for Tomorrow 2013 competition selected the Modern Forms Vela chandelier from WAC Lighting as a winner in the OLED category.

Does that mean we should forget OLED technology as a light source? Proponents of the technology certainly don’t think so, nor do some lighting designers and specifiers. Acuity Brands is one of the companies that is ardently trying to commercialize OLED technology. Mike Lu, director of Acuity’s OLED Design Center, said that the company held a focus group with top lighting designers in New York City early in 2013, and the top desire was better color rendering performance and warmer CCTs. While designers and specifiers would surely like to have better efficacy and lower price, those weren’t the main barriers to usage — at least in niche applications.

Improving color
The focus group led Acuity to huddle with its panel manufacturing partner LG Chem. The panels that Acuity had been using in its OLED fixtures featured a CRI in the 80–82 range with a positive but low R9 value for saturated red performance. Those panels were available in 3500K or 4000K CCTs. LG Chem has since developed a new panel that delivers 3000K light at a CRI of 89, and R9 value of 30. That performance doesn’t match the very best LED-based products but would be considered premium-level performance. LG Chem achieved the improvement by adding another layer in the OLED stack so that red, green, and blue pixels are vertically aligned in the stack. The Blackjack Aradess decorative OLED table lamp uses eight OLED panels to deliver diffuse glare-free light. The Blackjack Aradess decorative OLED table lamp uses eight OLED panels to deliver diffuse glare-free light. When you refocus a comparison of OLED and LED technology on a product implementation with excellent color quality, the technologies aren’t so far apart in terms of efficacy. Lu said that Acuity had verified the color performance of the new panels in the lab and measured the efficacy at 56 lm/W. That is about the same efficacy that the prior panels had delivered in mid-2012, although LG Chem had since delivered about a 25% efficacy gain in the 80-CRI products.

Relative efficacy
Lu compared the 89-CRI OLED panels to remote phosphor LED modules from Xicato or SSL products based on Soraa’s gallium-nitride-on-gallium-nitride (GaN-on-GaN) LEDs, both of which have a broad spectral power distribution and excellent color performance. Lu said the LED products with top color performance have efficacy specs in the 40–60-lm/W range, pretty much in the same ballpark as what OLEDs deliver. Lu said, “OLEDs have an intrinsically broad power spectrum.”

Lu also said that LG Chem had made incremental improvements in lifetime. The latest panels have an L70 life of 18,000 hours so long as developers keep drive currents relatively low. Indeed, Acuity is keeping currents down and panel output in the 2500–3000-cd/m2 range to both eliminate any glare issue and maximize life, as we discussed in the prior OLED article referenced earlier. Of course price will remain an issue, and you can easily see the disparity relative to LEDs in some OLED products that are being offered commercially. Back in the spring of 2013 we covered the launch of new manufacturer Blackjack Lighting by well-known lighting designer Stephen Blackman. The company’s Aradess table lamp uses Philips Lighting OLED panels and was announced with a price of $5900. But the design is elegant and for the luxury market. And you couldn’t easily achieve it with LED sources.

Modern Forms’ Vela chandelier from WAC Lighting is a product that could not be easily realized with a light source other than OLEDs.

OLED product acceptance
We are also seeing signs of broader acceptance of OLED technology in the lighting community. For example, the Lighting for Tomorrow competition, which is managed by the American Lighting Association (ALA), the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE), and Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL), included an OLED category in 2013. The category drew three entrants and the Vela chandelier from WAC Lighting’s Modern Forms brand was selected a winner.

The Providence VIP Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia features a lighting system that consists of 1680 OLED panels manufactured by Philips Lighting that provide a dramatic and dynamic experience to club-goers.

It’s worth noting that the judges for Lighting for Tomorrow, a panel that includes prominent lighting designers and experts, are not required to choose a winner in any category. The judges must feel that the product meets a broad set of predefined criteria including application efficiency, color rendering, and appearance. Moreover, the judging criteria include a “value and marketability” category. The suggested retail price for the Vela chandelier is $9900. Having participated in the judging process in the 2012 awards, we saw an LED-based chandelier priced in the $5000 range receive a Special Recognition award from the judging panel. So a near $10,000 OLED chandelier was certainly considered by the 2013 judges to offer value, at least at the high end of the residential market. Furthermore, Vela is one of those products that could not be easily realized with a light source other than OLEDs.

Acuity’s Modelo OLED products from the Winona brand enable free-form design with the panels mounted on a track that supplies control and power, and that could also enable a mix of LED products such as pendants installed on the same track. Acuity’s Modelo OLED products from the Winona brand enable free-form design with the panels mounted on a track that supplies control and power, and that could also enable a mix of LED products such as pendants installed on the same track. For a further example of what the market will bear, consider the case study we covered in late 2013. The Providence VIP Club, located in a high-end retail and office complex in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has installed 1680 Philips Lighting OLED panels. Neither Philips nor the local contractor SLT Asia discussed the cost in concrete terms, but club owner Ashwin Prakash saw it as a solid investment, saying, “It is an investment that few would make, but we believe in adopting new technologies in our clubs to enhance the VIP experience. Our guests are enamored by the lights.”

Acuity’s highest-profile OLED project to date was in the Innovation Center at the US Embassy in Helsinki, Finland that was announced in the spring of 2013. But the DOE was instrumental in guiding the selection of all of the lighting that went into that project including LED-based lighting, and the project was a proof of concept to some extent.

Mainstream acceptance
The question for many in the lighting industry will be at what price level mainstream consumers will adopt OLED lighting. Dietmar Thomas, a communications specialist at Philips, has gone on the record saying that OLEDs would find application in home lighting in 2015.
Acuity’s Lu prefers to discuss the price issue in consumer electronics terms, using flat-panel TVs as an analogy. Lu asked, “What kind of premium can OLED luminaires command?” He said that in the TV market, consumer electronics vendors believe that a significant number of buyers will pay 30–50% more for an OLED TV relative to an LED-backlit LCD TV. Of course OLED TVs haven’t hit that price level yet, so no one knows for sure. Still, Lu believes that OLED lighting will command a similar premium. And while OLEDs aren’t within that percentage range relative to LEDs at the light-source level, a system-level comparison will be different. In both technologies the light source is increasingly a diminishing component of the system cost. And when you compare like products in terms of color performance as mentioned previously, the gap narrows further.

Acuity, meanwhile, is working to convert its Kindred, Revel, Trilia, and Canvis OLED product lines to support the new LG Chem panels. By the time this article hits the street, you may well have seen an announcement from Acuity highlighting the superior color performance.
Jeannine Fisher, director of OLED business development at Acuity, said that the company is already shipping products based on the new panels to a lead customer. She also said a soon-to-be-revealed project on the East Coast will be the largest and most dramatic yet supported by Acuity. Fisher said that the company is also preparing to commercially roll out the Modelo and other OLED products announced at Lightfair 2013 with the new LG Chem panels. Fisher also summed up the price question from the company’s perspective, saying, “Relative to other OLED products, our products are very competitively priced.” The key factor is price relative to competitive technologies. But Fisher said OLEDs are competitive with LEDs today in “products that make a similar design statement.” Philips LivingSculpture modular OLED technology allows lighting designers to deliver customized lighting systems with 3D forms using a simple online configuration tool. Philips LivingSculpture modular OLED technology allows lighting designers to deliver customized lighting systems with 3D forms using a simple online configuration tool.

Value proposition
From the value proposition perspective, Philips sees things similarly. Kristin Knappstein, Philips global director of OLED business creation, said that products based on the company’s Lumiblade panels are delivering aesthetics and unique features that can’t be achieved any other way. “We are preferably targeting applications where OLEDs really contribute value and enable new designs or light effects,” said Knappstein. “We consider applications such as vertical or integrated lighting as attractive, as they are based on bringing this distributed light more to human scale, bringing it closer to people by integrating it into furniture and surfaces that surround them.” Still, Knappstein believes that panel makers must continue to drive efficacy and brightness. She added, “When it comes to OLED lighting, it is really about the right balance: It needs first a proper lumen output to really call it a light source, and then it is about delivering excellent light quality by means of rich, warm light without glare and which brings out the true colors.”

Today, Philips is delivering the GL350 panel in its performance line with a flux output of 200 lm from a 124.5-mm square panel. Knappstein said that the company will have a higher-performance product at the upcoming Light+Building tradeshow; we saw that product in the lab and it is very bright. Philips has a broad portfolio of products that are the result of its Lumiblade Creative Lab located in Aachen, Germany. Lighting manufacturers and designers can attend OLED lighting workshops at the lab and even use it as a design studio, working collaboratively with Philips’ OLED experts.

Philips LivingSculpture modular OLED technology allows lighting designers to deliver customized lighting systems with 3D forms using a simple online configuration tool.
The Providence VIP Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia features a lighting system that consists of 1680 OLED panels manufactured by Philips Lighting that provide a dramatic and dynamic experience to club-goers. You can view much of the Lumileds work at the interactive Lumiblade Experience website. The work includes products such as Mimosa that consists of five panels and mechanics that can move the four outer flowers, mimicking a flower opening and closing based on the proximity of a hand or other object to the fixture. That product may be extreme in terms of design, but there are more mainstream products such as the Moorea desk lamp with classic bankers’ lamp dimensions. Even that product has a unique ability to adjust the height and angle of the OLED panels using the power cord and a spring-loaded tensioner.

The floor-standing Acuity Lumen Being OLED lamp targets commercial spaces.
Philips also offers the modular LivingSculpture system that was designed initially by Christopher Bauder of WHITEvoid. Lighting designers can use an online configuration tool to develop ceiling- or wall-mounted systems with 3D contours by varying the length of the mounting rods that connect the panels to the modular base within which the driver is mounted.

Getting back to price
Still, broader acceptance of OLED technology will get back to price and therefore advancements in manufacturing technology. Back in 2012, Philips’ Thomas had predicted that by now the time required to manufacture a panel would have dropped to two minutes. In 2012, Thomas said it could take as long as 30 minutes to grow what can be as many as 20 to 30 layers that comprise the OLED stack on a glass substrate.
Philips will not quantify exactly where the manufacturing time stands today. The company has commissioned a new production line, although it’s off-limits to visiting journalists right now. We toured the older line. It looks something like an elongated racetrack with sequential chambers through which the glass panels pass on carriers, with each chamber designed to grow a specific OLED layer. Designed by Jason Bruges Studio, the Mimosa luminaire features moving parts with Philips OLED panels that mimic the opening and closing of flower petals.
One issue, however, is that some panel designs need multiple applications of the same layer at different places in the stack. In the older line, the panel must circuit the production line if the chamber that delivers the next required layer is behind the traffic flow in the sequential line. That means panels pass through chambers many times with no processing taking place.

Thomas said that the new line uses a dual track system to move panels on carriers through the sequence. A panel can move to a sidetrack and travel backwards for repetitive processing steps. That change would presumably make a significant improvement in production time. Despite all the challenges, what has become apparent in the last 18 months is that OLEDs can be used today to deliver both functional and striking lighting designs. The price remains high, but the premium is not as high as it first appears if you compare the cost of high-CRI LED-based systems or if the comparison is relative to unique form factors. Despite fledgling success in the market, it’s clear that OLED proponents believe deeply in the future of the technology.

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Cleveland Cavaliers light NBA practice facility with GE Albeo LED high-bay fixtures (VIDEO)

Cleveland Cavaliers light NBA practice facility with GE Albeo LED high-bay fixtures (VIDEO)
Published on: April 2, 2015
By Maury Wright
Editor in Chief, LEDs Magazine and Illumination in Focus

The 17,000-ft2 practice floor is lit with more than 70 GE Lighting Albeo fixtures while the team has also installed GE Lumination EL Series luminaires in the locker room.

Cleveland Cavaliers Facility

While the Cleveland Cavaliers push toward the US National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs as the hottest team in the Association, the players spend their practice time working under new LED-based sports lighting from GE Lighting’s Albeo brand. The new lighting will save considerable energy while also offering the instant-on capabilities sought by the team. The retrofit of the player development center, called the Cleveland Clinic Courts, also included installation of GE Lighting Lumination EL Series fixtures in the locker room.
Cleveland Cavaliers light NBA practice facility with GE Albeo LED high-bay fixtures for sports lighting.
The team was led to the retrofit by the long warm-up time of the older metal-halide (MH) sports lighting. “I was walking across the court with our general manager not long ago when, lo and behold, we lost power,” said David Painter, senior manager of practice facilities for the team. “The only lights that came back up were the LEDs, and he looked at me and he said, ‘DP, we’ve got to get this done. It’s a no-brainer.’”
The main practice room in the 17,000-ft2 facility includes two full-size courts. So the team wanted granular control of the sports lighting, along with the instant-on capability in part because of the need to record practice sessions. “We needed instant-on ability from our new lights to get the team back in action as fast as possible,” said Painter. “We also shoot a lot of video and host media events here too, so it’s important our gymnasium looks its best and brightest at all times.”

The team turned to manufacturer representative Myriad Energy for help in selecting products for the retrofit project. The firm recommended products from Albeo for the project. The new sports lighting is rated for 100,000 hours of life with no maintenance.
It’s no surprise that LED lighting is acceptable for a professional sports team at this point as a number of stadiums and arenas now use LED-based lighting. Just recently we covered an LED sports lighting project at the Major League Baseball (MLB) Seattle Mariner’s Safeco Field. Moreover, the National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl was played under LED lighting this year.
The Cavaliers’ practice facility is well lit by the new sports lighting as is evident in the nearby photo and the video below. But the main benefits are the instant controllability, greatly reduced maintenance, and lower energy usage.
Painter said replacing burned-out MH lamps was a significant problem. “We have 50-ft ceilings that pitch back to 36 ft. We had to invent a pulley system just to change the old lights,” said Painter. “Now there’s no issue with ballasts or replacing bulbs, which may be the thing I’m most excited about, personally.”
The team also expects to save $14,000 per year in energy costs from the combination of lighting and HVAC systems. That number could increase as the team installs controls. The lighting is already dimmable so energy usage is minimized when the courts aren’t in use. But the team is in the process of installing controls that will allow more granular dimming for portions of the practice-court area.
The players, meanwhile, are enjoying better, and more stylish lighting in the locker room as well. The EL Series luminaires use GE’s Intrinsx optical light guide technology. The fixtures have planar optical blades that extend from the fixture body vertically toward the floor.
“Cleveland Clinic Courts is among the most technologically advanced team development facilities in pro sports — if not the best — and additions like these new lights will keep it that way,” said Painter. We will see in the coming months if the practice-facility lighting, and perhaps the team’s reacquisition of LeBron James, deliver the fans the long sought championship.


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LIFX adds a more affordable white bulb to its smart lighting lineup

LIFX adds a more affordable white bulb to its smart lighting lineup
Pulkit Chandna | Freelance contributor, TechHive
Apr 2, 2015












The battle for control of the emerging smart lighting market is heating up, with new products coming in thick and fast from companies big and small. Yesterday Dutch lighting behemoth Philips announced the Hue Go—a portable version of its now iconic Hue connected LED bulb—and Aussie smart-lighting startup LIFX Labs follows suit with a new product of its own.The company, which pioneered Wi-Fi-enabled color-changing LED bulbs in 2012, has finally gotten around to adding a white-light-only bulb to its portfolio. It’s called the LIFX White 800 and is the company’s cheapest offering yet at $40 each. Being Wi-Fi-enabled, like its color-changing predecessors, means it requires no hub.

The timing of the announcement is just a touch off, though. It comes just a day after Philips slashed the price of its own white-light-only offering, the Hue Lux, by a third to $20 a pop. Granted, the ZigBee-enabled Lux is useless without the Hue bridge, but getting one is cheaper now that Philips has also lowered the price of its two-bulb-and-a-hub starter kit from $100 to $80.

LIFX bulbs connect to your Wi-Fi network, so they don’t require a hub for control. But if you’re deploying a lot of them, they’re still more expensive than Philips Hue bulbs that do require a hub.












Put differently, the Hue Lux is the cheaper option if you need more than two bulbs, with the savings adding up as you scale up. That’s true even if you buy the White 800 in packs of five or ten. But is Hue Lux the better bulb? Not necessarily. A quick look at their respective specs suggests the White 800 has a slight advantage: At 890 lumens (equivalent to a 60W incandescent), it is a good 140 lumens brighter than the Lux. Further, the company claims the White 800 is the first bulb in the entry-level segment to feature a “choice between rich warm to cool white lights all in one bulb.” The official product page, however, makes no mention of the exact color temperatures. A spec sheet gets more specific, listing the bulb’s color-temperature as ranging from 2700- to 6500K.

Why this matters: Entry-level smart bulbs like the White 800 should please those who desperately want in on the home automation action, but find most other connected-home devices either too expensive or too intimidating for their liking. In fact, they should please anyone and everyone who just can’t wait for the smart-home party to get started in earnest. Confused? Let us explain. Over the last couple of years, we’ve often heard smart bulbs being described as a potential Trojan horse for the Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon. Bulbs, the argument goes, trump most other home devices and appliances in this regard due to their almost unparalleled ubiquity and indispensability. And since we’re already in the middle of a global transition from incandescent bulbs to more efficient LED lighting, many will be tempted to go whole hog and get smart bulbs. But for that to happen on a large enough scale, smart bulbs must become more affordable.

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Glasshouse LEDs Save Greenhouse Gasses


Stockbridge Greenhouse

Glasshouse LEDs Save Greenhouse Gasses
13th February, 2015
By Steve Bush

UK plant researchers are looking into LED lighting to grow plants with less energy.
While outdoors in the summer there is no real need to provide plants with artificial lighting, it is increasingly used to extend the growing day and growing season inside greenhouses.
It is not necessarily the efficacy of LEDs that is the advantage, as the high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps currently used can deliver up to 150 lm/W, but the ability save power by only delivering wavelengths useful to plants – green, for example, reflects off plants.
Strockbridge Technology Centre (STC) is a plant growing research lab in Yorkshire.
“The most efficient way to drive photo synthesis is red light. You need a small amount of blue and in some situations you need far-red light,” STC science director Dr Martin McPherson told Electronics Weekly.
STC is one of many horticultural research establishments around the world trying to work out exactly what spectrum is needed when for what plants in what situation.
“We are experimenting to work that out,” said McPherson. “We have a mixture of lights, and a close working relationship with Phillips, and we’re working with other lighting manufacturers. They are producing some interesting lights.”
Philips, owner of LED firm Lumileds, makes a range of LED-based growing lamps, branded GreenPower, and is honing its products based on feedback from plant research customers.
The latest GreenPower product puts out 50µmol (see below) of useful light from 23W of electricity. “Its predecessor used 32W, and it still produces the same 50µmol output,” said Philips.

Stockbridge LED

Its grown lamps now come in seven different spectrum options. “With these we offer the best combinations of spectrum, intensity, moment of lighting, uniformity and positioning to steer specific plant characteristics such as compactness, colour intensity and branch development,” said the firm.
One of its recent introductions, dubbed Far Red, is optimised to promote flower formation and rooting, and includes some white light for people working around the plants.
So, how good is LED plant lighting?
McPherson says it is early days. He is certain it will be popular, but the jury is still out on how effective it will be, which lights will win in which situations and when the commercial tipping point will be.
Information from lighting manufacturers, he said, suggests growers are seeing 30-60% energy savings over HPS illumination and are expecting more as the technology improves.
STC’s experiments are under way, with a team of photo-biologists using research lighting modules with two sets of LEDs – one red and one blue – whose intensity can be set independently to vary the spectrum.
Stockbridge HPSIt has a greenhouse-scale tomato growth comparison with HPS lighting (see photo, purple against yellow respectively) – using, for those interested, Sunstream midi plum variety.
“The first tomatoes from Stockbridge’s research facility were harvested in time for Christmas and have been very well received,” said Nigel Bartle, board member of the East Yorkshire Local Food Network.
STC also has a series of ‘multi-layer’ trials (see photo) – for intensive horticulture where racks of plants are grown one above the other in trays. One potential application for multi-layer horticulture is in warehouse (rather than greenhouse) growing environments. Intended for growing crops in towns, these warehouses are sometimes called ‘city farms’ or ‘urban farms’.
HStockbridge multi layer LEDPS is unsuitable for multi-layer growing. “You can’t put it too close to the crop, it’s too hot. You have to keep it one metre away,” said McPherson. Here, fluorescent tubes are incumbent, and Philips is offering LED-based growing lamps shaped like fluorescent light fittings.

Stockbridge HPS

Stockbridge Technology Centre is an independent, not-for-profit agricultural and horticultural technology-transfer organisation, wholly owned by the UK horticultural industry. 70% of it work is commercial research. It was once a government research centre.
An aside: µmol
Watts is a measure of the quantity (radiant flux) of electromagnetic radiation leaving a light source. To convert this into the amount of visible light emerging, the human eye’s spectral response is taken into account and the new unit is ‘lumens’ – which like watts is an energy/second term. ‘Lux’ also takes the eye spectrum into account, and is the brightness you get if a lumen is spread evenly over a square metre.

Stockbridge multi layer LED

Photosynthetic activity in a plant is proportional to the number (rather than energy of) of useful photons landing on chlorophyll. The ‘lumens’ equivalent for plants – the metric which plant-aware people use to take into account chlorophyll spectral response as well as the number of photons leaving a lamp is µmol, and it is a measure of ‘photosynthetically active radiation’ (PAR).
To take this a stage further, the ‘brightness’ of plant-useful light falling on an area is the ‘photosynthetic photon flux’ (PPF) per second, and this is measured in µmol/(m2.s) – for the chemically aware, the mol here is indeed related to Avagadro’s number – it is the number of photons needed to activate a mol of chlorophyll
To bring this back down to earth, for a plant person with a standard light meter:
plant-useful light falling [in µmol/(m2.s)] = lm/m2 [lux] / constant
The division constant depends on the spectrum of the light source, and is roughly 20 for incandescent bulbs and 80 for HPS lamps.

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Cooper Lighting replaces up to 400W MH fixtures with Lumark LEDs!

Cooper Lighting replaces up to 400W MH fixtures with Lumark LEDs!
March 5, 2015
By Maury Wright
Editor in Chief, LEDs Magazine and Illumination in Focus

LED Cooper Floods

Cooper Lighting, an Eaton company, has announced the Lumark Night Falcon family of LED-based outdoor luminaires for floodlight applications. Cooper intends the solid-state lighting (SSL) family to span the range of replacing 250W to 400W metal halide (MH) fixtures, delivering energy savings and superior beam control and light quality.

The new luminaire design is based on chip-on-board (COB) LEDs that can generate a tremendous amount of light from one light-emitting surface. But COB LEDs aren’t always conducive to the use of lenses to control the beam.
Generally, COB LEDs have been used with reflector-based optics rather than lenses, although companies such as Khatod have now developed ways to use new materials to enable larger total-internal-reflection (TIR) lenses. Indeed, Khatod won one of our inaugural Sapphire Awards for its silicon COB lens. For information on beam control, see our feature article on the topic.
Cooper, however, stuck with reflector optics in the Night Falcon LED floodlight design. The company said that it delivers uniformity and beam control matched to the application at hand. Specifically, the design is based on the NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association)-specified 6H×6V distribution. Such a design is intended to deliver maximum fixture spacing for projects and that delivers the lowest fixture and installation costs.
“Our Night Falcon product combines high-efficiency optics with superior thermal management and energy efficiency in a cost-effective solution,” said Mark Eubanks, president of Eaton’s Cooper Lighting Division. “The LED floodlight offers customers greater than 75% in energy and maintenance savings compared to traditional lamp sources.”
The Night Falcon is designed for 50,000 hours of operating life delivering L90 or 90% or more of initial light output. The reliability comes from thermal fins that cool the LEDs and the use of a sealed housing for the driver electronics. The product carries an IP66 rating for water and dust ingress.

Cooper also offers optional controls for the Night Hawk family of LED floodlights. For pole-mounted area-lighting applications, a sensor enables autonomous dimming to 50% of maximum output when no activity is detected in the area of the luminaire. Cooper says the implementation meets stringent California Title 24 codes for energy efficiency. Moreover, a NEMA socket enables the addition of a daylight sensor to turn the lights on or off automatically.

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General Electric Lighting and Lighting Science Group unveil LED Circadian Lamps

General Electric Lighting and Lighting Science Group unveil LED Circadian Lamps!
March 10, 2015
By Maury Wright
Editor in Chief, LEDs Magazine and Illumination in Focus

GE Align SSL retrofit lamp technology aims to nurture the natural human sleep and wake cycles, while the Lighting Science Group Sleepy Baby product is designed for infant sleep training.

GE Lighting and the Lighting Science Group (LSG) each have new LED-based, retrofit-lamp products intended to help humans sleep properly. GE’s new Align family includes different versions intended for night and morning usage. Lighting Science Group has been selling similarly-intended Good Night and Awake & Alert lamps and has now added Sleepy Baby lamps designed to assist parents in training infants to sleep through the night.
It is fairly well established that warm-CCT light at night encourages melatonin production in humans and induces sleep and a restful night. Likewise, blue-rich cooler-CCT lighting in the morning can suppress melatonin and lead to alertness and increased productivity. Philips was involved in one such study on LED lighting and human circadian rhythms. Researchers still don’t fully understand the impact of lighting on non-visual receptors in humans, as we covered in a recent interview. Still, many companies are ready to move forward with solid-state lighting (SSL) technology intended to optimize sleep/wake cycles.
Many of the products being developed for matching the circadian cycle use tunable light engines to produce the warm and cool light at different times of the day and night. But such designs inevitably cost more because multiple channels of LEDs are involved, a more complex driver is required, and a control element must be included for either autonomous or programmatic control of the lamps or luminaires.
GE Align lamps.
The products we cover here including the GE Align lamps take a more simplistic approach to circadian lighting. GE is offering two separate LED retrofit lamps for night and morning usage. The Align PM bulbs produce an amber hue meant to mimic candlelight or fire. GE recommends that people use the 7W lamps that produce 350 lm for 30 minutes prior to bedtime.

The 11W Align AM lamp produces 900 lm in a hue that GE describes as “concentrated bluish-white light. The company says that 30 minutes of usage after waking helps promote the natural wake cycle. The lamps are each listed at $35, although amazon.com has the PM version for $31.09 and the AM version for $32.48 currently.
“Aren’t we all tuned to the good feelings on a bright and sunny day, or the feelings we have on a gloomy day? Light impacts not only our mood and wellness, but our ability to fall asleep,” said Gary Allen, physicist and LED innovations principal engineer at GE Lighting. “By changing the timing, amount, spectral quality of light exposure, we can avoid disrupting the body’s natural circadian rhythms.”
GE has also produced a lengthy whitepaper on lighting and sleep. The nine-page PDF document includes a characterization of our current base of knowledge on the circadian rhythm, melatonin production, and the sleep/wake cycle. Perhaps more significantly, the document includes a comprehensive set of references to research in the area.
LSG circadian lamps
Of course, the GE lamps were not the first such products to market. LSG had announced the Good Night and Awake & Alert lamps at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) back in January 2014. At the time, LSG said the consumer products were based on what it had learned in working with astronauts that had visited the International Space Station who depend completely on artificial light.

Now LSG has released the Sleepy Baby lamp designed for use by parents during an infant’s nightly bedtime routine. The 3.5W retrofit lamp produces 300 lm and is designed to replace a 40W incandescent bulb. The product has a very-warm 2300K CCT and is rated for 25,000 hours of use. It sells for $30 and comes with a five-year warranty.
“As a scientist, and the father of an infant myself, it was important to me to develop a biologically-correct LED lamp that could benefit my family,” said Robert Soler, director of lighting research at Lighting Science Group. “Utilizing the ground-breaking, collaborative research we did with NASA for our Good Night LED lamps, we biologically tailored it to work to support healthy infant circadian rhythm development and sleep cycles. Your baby can now utilize our light to fall asleep faster; stay asleep longer; and fall back to sleep quicker if awakened for late night feedings or changings. This product takes full circle Lighting Science’s dedication to provide healthy LED lighting and promote the advancement of biological lighting in the global environment.”

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Best Commercial: Enhance Your Lighting GE Commercial

Best Commercial: Enhance Your Lighting GE Commercial

Enhance Your Lighting spot from GE starring Jeff Goldblum as Terry Quattro, the world’s most well-lit man. Click image to see video!

GE Lighting’s cutting-edge GE Link connected LED bulb will enhance your lighting like no other light bulb. Just ask an over-the-top celebrity, played by Jeff Goldblum, who owes all of his success to really great lighting.

GE works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works.

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