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)
Regarding the use on autos and trucks: The move to LEDs was more obvious at this year's Detroit Auto Show. The new Dodge Dart uses 152 LEDs on the back lights and triunk decklid. Numerous cars were using them in the interiors. Most of the hybrids (hybrid engineers are obsessive about power draw in hybrids) used them on the rear lights and interiors.
Ann, the problem is not the profit motive, it's the lack of meaningful competition. (It's pretty much the same with our public water utility - where we pay the water rate, then about double for a "sewer charge"). Then you have government regulation mandating that you "save electricity" which does nothing for saving dollars.
Jack, sorry to hear that. When I lived in LA several years ago, the municipally owned Department of Water and Power had really low rates over a long period of time and well maintained infrastructure. I was surprised, having grown up with profit-seeking monopoly PG&E, and also knowing what I knew about the really dirty dealings involved in LA's early water history. Also, there are municipally owned water districts in the San Francisco Bay area that are well known for characteristics similar to those of LA's DWP. I have heard that the beneficence (or not) of municipal ownership varies widely depending on state.
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.