Makers of light-emitting diode (LED) technology reached out
to college students recently, as five corporate sponsors teamed with the California Lighting Technology Center (CLTC)
at the University of California-Davis to
hold an LED design contest.
contest, which involved 28 design and engineering students in a quarter-long
course, called on students to build working prototypes of new products
employing LEDs. Corporate sponsors – including Arrow
Electronics, Magtech Industries, Optek Technology, Osram Opto Semiconductors and Tyco Electronics – donated LEDs,
power supplies, connectors and other electronics to enable the students to
build their prototypes.
say they got involved because the students represent a generation of future
designers who might one day be more inclined to select LEDs over incandescent
and fluorescent products. "We regularly reach out to the designer community,
but here we were specifically reaching out to the next generation of
specifiers," says Brian Terao, director of solid state lighting products for
Osram. "They don't have an old mindset configured toward traditional lighting
systems. They start with a fresh outlook on what LEDs can bring to a design."
contest's winning design was an LED-based wall sconce that projects a house's
address forward, as well as backward onto a wall behind it. Other winners included
a bedroom side lamp, office wall sconce and an outdoor pathway light fixture.
say the contest provided valuable experience to young engineers and
designers, enabling them to gain experience with the process of LED-based
design. "In order for LEDs to work correctly, you need to understand how to
integrate them into a system," Terao says. "You have to have the right
controllers. You need to manage heat properly. And because it's more
complicated than screwing in a light bulb, connectors come into play, too."
provided a wide variety of LED sub-systems for the students. Osram supplied the
LEDs; Magtech gave power supplies and drive electronics; Tyco provided
connectors; Optec gave optics and Arrow served as a supplier coordinator.
Sponsors say the
design community gains from the innovation of the students. "At the end of the
day, you don't just want a light that turns on," Terao says. "You want
something that's unique and physically appealing."