A deeper look at the Personal Lighting Concept

matrixshaman

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I've got LED lights from basic and cheap to some of the finest lights in terms of build quality and usefulness although I don't have the money right now to buy what I call the artistic level lights like a KI splash, McGizmo Titanium or a Damascus Mr. Bulk. I've had a flashlight as an EDC on me for at least 15 years and before that always had them close by. In the distant past they were bulb lights or hotwires that didn't last too long - both in terms of bulbs and batteries. So it became second nature to save them for emergency use or times I might really need it. But now with the advent of advanced high power LED lighting with highly regulated circuits and high power Lithium Ion rechargeable batteries I find I'm using lights almost constantly in the darker hours. I find I rarely even turn house lights on anymore as I move about the house. I usually have one light on where I'm working and even it is an LED light array plugged into a light socket along with one small regular bulb.
I thought last night as I was walking around the house doing a few things and lighting my way with a Novatac - many times on a very low level but toggling back and forth between other brighter levels that this is becoming much more than just a flashlight. It's a Personal lighting instrument capable of many things. I have had what I believe is a really profound concept that has been crawling around in the back of my mind: what if 50% or 75% of the population were using lights the way many of us do? WHAT IF LED lights get even more sophisticated and user friendly? Take a look at how far and fast the the cell phone (a personal communication instrument) has come since the first cell phones to the current ones. What if LED lights grew this fast in the next 10 to 15 years? Can you imagine a personal lighting instrument with voice command built in? - maybe for changing light levels or changing focus? How about a light that automatically adjusts it's output based on how much light is reflected back to it? One that is a headlight and one a wrist mount or arm mount light? Maybe a finger mount light too. All with high tech circuitry and controls. I have no doubt the technology is available to make all that happen now and even more. What would be the result of all this if it comes about? Well one BIG thing would be a HUGE reduction in Energy consumption and the effects of that could ripple across the planet and economies like a giant tsunami - in a very GOOD way of course. I think we can all have a part in helping save our planet and make the economy better if we push this Personal lighting concept. Talk about it. Spread it. Make it bigger than life. The fact is life on this planet could be in for some serious doom and gloom if we don't change many of our ways soon. And it is nearly all related to how we use ENERGY. Share some thoughts here and with friends and acquaintances about the PLC.
 

scott.cr

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Interesting and thoughtful post. I wonder if the call to notice global warming will have anything to do with advancing the LED sciences. I also wonder if it's actually more taxing on the environment to produce non-incandescent forms of lighting when you consider the environmental impact of the longer manufacturing process and defect rates of such devices. (I've had more CFLs prematurely burn out on me, and they use mercury.)

Having said that, cell phones are now fashion accessories... it will be quite the day when the unwashed masses pay as much attention to doing the "right" thing as they do to having a phone with cachet.
 

Phaetos

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Me and the wife actually had this same thought the other day. We had picked up some Brinkmann GO-Led's in a 4 pk from Target a few weeks ago and decided to use some little velcro stickers on the back and affix them to various places around the kitchen where we needed light, like in cabinets. This was during the evening and we realized that we actually should never need to turn a light on again. Personally, I don't like lights anyway, I prefer the dark. But these things put out just enough light to see where you were going and doing. Even stuck one in the bathroom to turn on so we don't disturb each other in the middle of the night by turning the big light on. I forsee my house not having any lights at all other than LED lighting. Hell, we just walk around with little lights now in the house. She carries around the RR 1XAA and I use my new MTE I just got, or whatever low lumen 8 or 12 led cheapie that is laying handy. Plenty of light and it doesn't kill your night vision.

I'm working on brushing up on my electronics background and think I will find a way to start wiring in small LED arrays throughout the house with small remotes or something. I can forsee a nice drop in our electric bill in our future.
 

scottaw

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So how long until the clf is dead and i have a single cree lightbulb? Perfectly dimmable and would use um.....basically no electricity? I'm no electrician, but one led has to use a LOT less than a lightbulb of any kind right?
 

kelmo

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Wow, did you have alot to drink last night?! Just kidding! LOL

If cars were flashlights the sensible would be carrying small energy efficient Asian lights. And the majority of Americans would be using battery hog big incandescents. And they will justify them by saying, "I get them just incase I have to use them outside in the mountains!"

Sorry if I got off track...
 

INFI

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I have been telling friends and family for at least a year now that in about twenty years I personally think that most home lighting will be with LED's. It may sound crazy now, but I have already seen one house somewhere on this website that was totally done in LED's. The cost was insane though. I think just over 100k the LED's were in of all sorts of colors. It looked quite nice to me, (upscale) as some of the lighting came from the floor, ceiling and even IIRC the enclosed waterfall type gizmos that have air bubbles running up through them. LED's are the future lighting source, there is no doubt about it in my mind.
 

ensile

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a few of my friends have been impressed with the brightness of some of my lights, they do show some interest, but probably couldnt care less.

the ones that have shown interest, wanted the lights I liked the most, and I normally would have parted with the light, had I not liked them so much. I've given my brother tiros t1 before and he gave me some lame story about his mate taking it away with him. I was heartbroken, I could have given him a p.o.c if I had of known he would have left it lying around his shifty housemate's.

I just refuse to let lights go missing. oh yeah, i was really annoyed, because I was about to ask for that light back and swap it with a 2007 t3 (reflector), it was more like, if he could keep the light this long, he passes the test, then gets an upgrade. He failed, he ruined it for alot of potential convertee's.

I reckon the world would be a nicer place to live if people packed 100 lumens, there'd be alot less crime because multiple people would be flashing lights in a direction of interest, flushing the baddie away, also, people would feel safer because they wouldnt be walking in darkness much of the time.

Good idea.
 

Windscale

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Many good ideas aired in this thread. I am a firm believer that whatever ugly acts we do to the environment will bounce back on us, or on our children and grandchildren. We are in an age of criminal waste of energy. And yet, as the same time, we fought, and are still fighting, so many wars for energy. I have done my bit, namely, firstly, replaced all the tungsten bulbs with energy saving ones, and, secondly, tried to go 100% rechargeable with the flashlights. I am getting there but in the process I had to retire many lights as they are not comfortable with rechargeables. This is a really pity as some of these lights have served me well for such a long time. I hate to think back at the large number of CR123As which I have thrown away over the past years.

Happy Conservation. Happy Flashaholicism.
 

copperfox

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If a significant percentage of the population could be persuaded to use personal lighting devices instead of turning on the room light, I am sure we could reduce energy costs dramatically. Unfortunately, almost everyone takes for granted our instantly available, more-than-bright-enough light. We don't realize that in most cases we could (at least I could) make do with half the amount of light or less. A hundred and fifty years ago, if you needed light in the house at night, you just carried a candle around. The same thing could be done with flashlights to conserve a lot of energy. However, I fear that the luxury and convenience of modern lighting will make people extremely reluctant to switch to a system that seems "primitive."

I think there is a fine line between a light's UI/friendliness and having too many unnecessary features that only increase weight, increase complexity, and reduce battery life. Voice activated flashlight?...I personally don't need that feature. Variable brightness, great battery life, ruggedness and versatility?...Absolutely, I will always want more.

You know what would be really cool?! A smart home that could sense where you are in the house and light up the house accordingly. This could happen through infrared cameras that sense heat, floor tiles sensitive to changes in pressure, or you could wear a radio frequency device and each room would have a scanner. With today's technology we could make this a very smart system. For example, program the pressure sensitive tiles to ignore up to a certain weight limit so that pets don't keep your lights on all day. Also, the light in the room you just left could stay on for a couple seconds to make sure you are not coming back immediately. We could even program it to predict your path through the house to light up a room before you walk in. It could also be programmed for night mode, where activity near the doors or windows would alert you to a possible intruder and turn on room lights to 100%. Or if it is 3AM and you leave the bedroom, it should automatically light your path to the bathroom with very very dim light.

Picture this: It's 9:30pm and you are sitting in your favorite arm-chair reading a book --the reading lamp beside you is on. You set the book down, get up and move to the doorway. As you leave the chair, your reading lamp begins to dim, but the room light turns on and gets brighter so you can see where you are going. As you approach the kitchen, the kitchen light turns on and gets brighter. You get to the fridge and look at the room you just left-- the light is still on, but it is dimming. After a couple of minutes fixing yourself a snack, you walk back to your chair in the other room. The lights follow you to your seat, and just before you can sit down again, the reading light is on and waiting.

Seriously, this has amazing potential. You don't want the room light to turn off completely when you leave? Fine, program it to dim to 25%. We can even interface the house's computer with an atomic clock. This, combined with an outside light sensor can make the house extremely smart at knowing when you need light and when you don't. It will know when sunset is, and can adjust itself to daylight savings time. The outside light sensor would know to provide you with more light if it were cloudy than if it was sunny. Obviously certain places would keep legacy lighting systems, like hospital operating rooms, offices, prisons, and stores.

The technology to do everything I've said exists right now. The only prohibitive element to this system is initial cost and and maintenance. However, depending on the efficiency of such a system, it could still save the consumer money in the long run.
 

matrixshaman

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts, ideas and comments on this. I see many of these things happening in the future. I would like to add that the PLC is probably not something you would want to use if for any reason you are depressed or sad. Lots of light can really help in such a situation. Other than that it's an idea that I think can really help with our energy problems. A house setup like Copperfox talked about could be controlled easily with an older computer. I've got light switches right now that have IR sensors in them and turn on a room light when you walk in - adjustable timers will keep the light on for up to around 20 minutes as long as there is movement in the room. I'll be building a house as soon as we sell our current home and plan to incorporate some LED lighting into it. I've been collecting bargain priced LED's that are at least 1 watt or more already for the project.
I just saw a light on eBay that is an ear mounted flashlight - looks cool but I doubt it's very bright or long running time. It's amazing if you do a search at some place like Target for LED how many hits you get - just ran another search - try 877 hits!!
 

springnr

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Eco/Green improvements in cell/battery needed for the mass of new users? Just wondering.

Also buildings/housings should make maximum use of natural sunlight convenient/adjustable. Lots of growth potential for innovation here.
 

McGizmo

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Good thread and worthy concept, IMHO.

I have been an advocate and user of LED light sources and in the context or philsophy that less is better than more in terms of flux levels.

Before electricity was plumbed into homes and available in excess for lighting, people did work with personal or portable lighting I believe. So many candle and oil lamps were designed for both fixed mount as well as with a handle for portability. You can still buy nice brass oil lamps which have a handle that has key hole screws for easy hanging on the wall and the lamps round flat base allows for table standing as well. A mod that I have never gotten around to is that of taking one of these brass oil lamps and converting it to battery powered LED. It's not a stretch to imagine its handle having an integrated charging dock where the lamp resides on a wall (being charged) but is immediately portable and ready to roll. I digress.....

My house now is 100% LED illuminated with the exception of some great T8 fixtures in the shop/ garage. I have very low level illumination triggered by photo switch that comes on at dusk and goes off at dawn. I can navigate about my house without turning on any light at all. With a flashlight on my hip, I can reach for it should I need greater illumination while moving about. I also have the option of turning on one of the fixed LED lights to provide required illumination in a room if I am planning on doing something in that room where greater illumination is required. I spend a good portion of my time outside either on a front lanai or rear deck. Both of these are illuminated on a low level at all times in the dark. I can go outside without turning on a light and since my house is rarely "burning bright" I not only have reasonable vision in the transition to outside but I can enjoy the quiet symphony of light coming from the stars and moon and passing clouds.

I have no doubt that most of us could experience better and more effective lighting, regardless of task, with an electric consumption that would be 10-20% of what most are using now. With energy in abundant supply, we have evolved to heavy and wasteful consumption of it.

The key is not just switching to more efficient sources of light but in the packaging and strategies of use of these sources. Most incandescent light fixtures are designed to keep the viewer from getting blasted by the source itself. Shades and frosted globes are used for reflecting and diffusing the light. When you consider the transmision loss of light inherent in most of these fixtures it is an eye opener!! Indirect lighting is much friendlier to the viewer and yet indirect lighting requires the light to bounce about or penetrate diffussing elements. Are wall coverings and paints typically addressed in terms of their reflective efficiencies? Ceilings?

I would guess that a person could accomplish most of their night time needs about a house with 40 lumens of light provided that 40 lumens were delivered where it was needed. With LED sources, 40 lumens now can be had with 1 watt of electricity. A household of 4 could conceivably be engaged independently in activities and yet require a total of 4 watts of electrical power in their night time doings. Obviously this won't be the case as long as power is abundant and available. In a power outage though........

Since we are basically lazy in nature to the extent that we want to conserve our energy, the UI is key to effective conservation and systems where unneeded illumination is not on and idling away.

Many of us enjoy having light in our hands at our control so we may be more inclined to approach illumination on an as needed basis. For the mainstream though, there needs to be real incentives to get folks to consider new soultions and systems.

Excessive consumption from food to energies to commodities to disposable goods and items of ever changing trends and technological improvements is ingrained and encouraged to a level that we have quite a strong current to buck should we elect to move against the flow! We welcome and embrace change as a way of keeping our interest up and excitement going in our lives. Unfortunately change has a price tag and especially if change means out with the old to be disgarded and in with the new?!?!

I know I use my disposable income to bring about change as well as "new" in my life and experiences. I doubt I am in minority here. I have also realized that if I identify things and items that are not that important to me in terms of wanting to "change them out" that I prefer to get the very best as this is satisfying in and of itself and it also implies that I can count on extended service and utility from such an item. I.E. I won't have to set money aside in anticipation of replacement for the item as I would were it not of high quality and dependability.

I am not sure I am making sense here to others but I am trying to explain my perceptions about how a transition to a different form or level of illumination needs to make sense and be desireable if it is to succeed. People need to want this change and hopefully have fun in the process; directly or indirectly as a result.

My motivation in switching to LED lighting in my home was extremely atypical. I got to design and install and experiment and learn in the process which was rewarding to me on many levels. There is no way my nextdoor neighbor would consider switching over to LED lighting for the same reasons I did!!

I am going off on a tangent here; sorry. The personal Lighting Concept as I read into it has to do with portability of the light source where the source is used in activities and tasks presently allocated to fixed lighting. We have all enjoyed the freedom of hands free illumination and this is a given when fixed lighting is employed. For portable to also provide hands free it either needs to be set down, hung up or mounted some how on the body. I can't see people tomorrow walking about their homes with headlamps on! :nana: (Not if wall switches are functioning)

An incremental improvement in efficiency will never overcome the inertia of the present condition and means of illumination now in play. However, I believe that the potential savings due to a great magnitude in efficiency increase available from LED sources will somehow manifest itself in change. To fully exploit LED's the change needs to be at the very core in fixture design itself and not in compromised retro fitting of existing incandescent lamps, IMHO. New construction would be the best place to bring this change about. The savings in copper and electrical feeds to LED lights over incandescent itself provides great incentive; an incentive not present in a retrofit. Sorry, I keep deviating from the portable aspect so I'll stop typing..... :eek:
 

matrixshaman

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Eco/Green improvements in cell/battery needed for the mass of new users? Just wondering.

Also buildings/housings should make maximum use of natural sunlight convenient/adjustable. Lots of growth potential for innovation here.

I think I mentioned that rechargeable cells would need to be the focus for such an idea as this change. Natural sunlight is of course great - I've got 4 skylights in my current house but those don't glow at night :)
 

matrixshaman

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Good thread and worthy concept, IMHO.

I have been an advocate and user of LED light sources and in the context or philsophy that less is better than more in terms of flux levels.

Before electricity was plumbed into homes and available in excess for lighting, people did work with personal or portable lighting I believe. So many candle and oil lamps were designed for both fixed mount as well as with a handle for portability. You can still buy nice brass oil lamps which have a handle that has key hole screws for easy hanging on the wall and the lamps round flat base allows for table standing as well. A mod that I have never gotten around to is that of taking one of these brass oil lamps and converting it to battery powered LED. It's not a stretch to imagine its handle having an integrated charging dock where the lamp resides on a wall (being charged) but is immediately portable and ready to roll. I digress.....
..... (edit out the rest to save energy :) )
It's funny you should mention about the concept of having portable LED lights available on the wall (charging too). I was wavering in my post from yesterday about mentioning that exact idea - that is having a flashlight holder near each light switch or at least house entrances. Even better that it would be in a charger holder. I just couldn't decide if that was too silly or if it would be a reasonable idea so I left it out. Since you mentioned the charger holder that now sounds like a great idea.
I also agree that for the majority of the public it will take some motivation to get this to come about. I think part of what I picture comes from many future Sci-Fi movies where things are often quite dimly lit and people do have a variety of personal lighting sources - some built in to their outfits, clothing or uniforms. Hmmm - now that's a thought that just grabbed me as I was typing. LED lighting built in to coats, hats, shirts and so on. I know we already have some of that to a small extent. Now I'm getting tangential .... so yes the motivation to make change like this. I agree about the quality factor. That is one of the reasons I got into flashlights. I can afford once in a while to get almost the very best lights available and that's a cool thing to know you can own some of the world's best made 'anything'. That factor right there is a big factor that I see expanding every day. People get tired of the 'throw-away'-Walmart-replace-it-every-year (or 6 months) mind set and decide to get one quality item that should last a lifetime. That may bring a lot of people eventually to quality LED lights. I'm not sure that will get enough people into it to make a bid difference but it is an idea that I see growing stronger all the time.
I also think having houses built with LED lighting will gather a lot of momentum in the next few years - in fact I think it will get very big within 10 years. Thanks McGizmo for your contributions here!
 

luminiferous

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Fantastic thread! Lot's of very good concepts and ideas here. As has been pointed out, the future is now. These products are are all available today, but what is needed is the continuing momentum to bring them to the mainstream norm.

I have no doubt that LED or developments based on LED will be lighting our future, but it's going to take demand to keep the supply growing. Many of us forget that while our Western culture installs lighting when we build homes, much of the world adds lighting after the fact and billions still live by oil lamps.

I've also had my imagination ignited by LED and the feasibility today is real, until you consider cost. It's going to take a few more years before that drops enough for the mainstream to take notice. We're all more interested because we're hobbyists. So the majority of the complete concept is still IMO, at the hobbyist stage. If I could afford the commercially available LED lighting fixtures that are available today (and meet with my expectations, an important differentiator), then I would for sure have done a complete conversion. For now, I'll have to live with the comfortable mix of florescent and incandescent that fits my budget.

It's still true that while we can all make a global difference with florescent and LED lighting, it comes with its own issues in the manufacturing stage as has been mentioned already. The energy savings, while I'm not discounting it, is not as significant as when we switch to LCD televisions, replace inefficient appliances, use small convection ovens or microwaves, and simply make a conscientious efforts to reduce consumption. In general, our culture has developed a lot of devices, and many of those are becoming more efficient. The real renaissance will start with us though, not the stuff we own.
 
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