The light-emitting diode (LED) has been called the most efficient controllable light source ever created. It can deliver a lot of light for a little power, by some accounts offering 10 times as many lumens per watt as an incandescent. It can also control its own brightness and color, making it a strong candidate for applications that call for "smart" lighting capabilities.
Equally important: LED cost is plummeting. Thanks to a phenomenon known as Haitz's Law, LED cost is said to be falling by a factor of 10 every decade, while the light generated per package rises by a factor of 20.
That's where the holidays come in. Low cost and high brightness are a good combination for the holidays. Strings of lights don't sell if they're wildly expensive, and LED cost has dropped just far enough to enable holiday celebrants to invest in them.
Here, we've collected photos from recent LED usage on trees, bushes, and holiday signs. From Christmas to New Year's Eve to Halloween, from battery power to electric-eel-power, we present a smorgasbord of innovative holiday uses for LEDs.
Click the image below to start the holiday LED slideshow:
The owner of this magnolia tree wrapped the trunk with pure white LED mini-lights and covered the branches with red mini-lights. A string of 100 LED lights burns just 4W. (Source: holidayleds.com)
What a festive way to send out the year. It amazes me how much can be done particularly around color with these LEDs. The Alanta botanicals garden display was really something else and there are no words to describe the Japanese Santa that gets his power source from an electric eel. Eww. In all seriousness though, would these types of displays even been possible using traditional light sources and is the pricetag in doing them with LEDs more expensive, despite the precipitous drop in cost?
It's hard to imagine that those brilliant displays of color can actually be accomplished with a technology that has energy saving ramifications. You're are right Rob. Amazing how far lighting has come.
I'm also impressed by the wide range of lighting produced by the LED lights. Looking through these slides really shows the versatility in presentation. So as well as energy savings and long life, the LEDs are also providing a really assortment in presentation.
We switched over to LEDs this year. The display looks great and being able to hook strand cut down the amount of extension cords that I needed for the display. Additionally, We have not had a tripped circuit breaker this season.
Driving around and looking at lights this season, it was clear that LEDs having taken a big leap forward. The range in different types of lighting made a big difference in the quality of the displays this year.
How come no one's talking about the moral hazard implied by more efficient lights? See, if people know LEDs save energy, they'll use more of them and could wind up with higher total energy consumption.
This, by the way, is the same argument that Steve Forbes once used to argue against higher fuel economy standards for cars: people will just drive more, leading to greater total consumption. Yes, he actually wrote that in his magazine. I immediately dashed off a letter congratulating him on (perhaps unintentionally) solving the fuel crisis: clearly, the way to reduce gasoline use woud be to mandate LOWER mileage for vehicles. Curiously, they didn't print my letter.
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Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.