Table of Contents Technology ShowcaseBuilding an Engaging Online Student UnionTechnology Showcase: Implications of the Internet of Things (IoT)Technology Showcase: The Natural Limitations of Technology: 4K TVsTechnology Showcase: Students Organize HackathonsTechnology Showcase: LEDs EvolveTechnology Showcase: Beyond Facebook: Social Media 2.0Technology Showcase: The Potential of Virtual Reality GamesTechnology Showcase: What Event Planners Need to Know About WiFiTechnology Showcase: 10 Pro Tips for Using Microsoft WordTechnology Showcase: It's Just a Video in PowerPoint–What Could Go Wrong?Technology Showcase: Competitive Presenting with PowerPoint RouletteTechnology Showcase: Adjusting Procedures to Provide Better A/V SupportTechnology Showcase: Tracking A/V Inventory in DEA EMSTechnology Showcase: Applying Innovative, Inexpensive Technology in a Theatre SpaceTechnology Showcase: Raspberry Jammin'Technology Showcase: Road Test: Apps for NotetakingTechnology Showcase: Road Test: Student Employee Scheduling ProgramsTechnology Showcase: Road Test: Project Management Software10 of the Top Commons Posts of 20152015 Education and Research Fund DonorsNeeds Assessment Identifies Strengths, Room for GrowthCAS Provides Better Tools for Relevant Functional AreasNew Team Provides Educational Tools, Discussion Opportunities Related to Campus ViolenceVolunteerism In the AssociationFrom the President: Who was Your First?From the Chief Executive Officer: Promoting Dialogue About Campus ShootingsMarch/April 2016 KioskOn the JobUnion Spotlight: Linda E. McMahon Commons at Sacred Heart UniversityUnion Spotlight: Andorfer Commons at the Indiana Institute of Technology
Volume 84 | Issue 2
March/April 2016

Technology Showcase: LEDs Evolve

Within the last decade, many campuses have phased out incandescent and fluorescent lighting in favor of energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs). While LEDs are generally more expensive to purchase initially, they use roughly half the energy of compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and only 10% that of incandescents. Additionally, their average life span is six times that of CFLs and more than 40 times that of incandescents. Also, in comparison to CFLs and incandescents, LEDs emit less heat, are less breakable, emit less carbon dioxide, and do not contain mercury.

Today’s LEDs can emit a softer light instead of the first-generation cold blue. Bulbs also are available to retrofit many fixtures formerly used for other lighting. Other advances in LEDs include controllers, flexibility, and special bulbs.

DMX (Digital Multiplex Signal) Controllers
DMX controllers are integrated hardware/software that can control up to 512 channels. A channel can be thought of as a color; to have RGB (red, green, blue) color-changing lighting, three channels are required. A DMX, therefore, allows you to control up to 170 RGB lights. Scenes, or specific light intensity and color settings, are created using computer software; however, scenes can be saved to the memory of the DMX controller so they can be used without being connected to a computer. More complex systems can allow you to time lighting events or have scenes happen based on astrological events, like sunrise or sunset, and can be controlled remotely via cloud-hosted systems.

Flexible LEDs
LED strips, ropes, tapes, and ribbons are available commercially and allow for lighting around curves and sharp corners. These are commonly used for directional lighting (indoor or outdoor), accent lighting, or art installations. They can be as flat as 0.5mm and often come as red, green, and blue lighting that can be digitally controlled to change colors as desired.
Similarly, LED panels or sheets are ultra-thin and can be installed on walls, pillars, or ceilings like tiles. Some can even be cut into various shapes. Their light weight and low heat emissions make sheets a flexible application in small and large spaces.
Some textiles even have integrated LEDs. For instance, Phillips has begun marketing “Luminous Carpets,” which have lights built into commercial-grade flooring. Controlled by tablets and/or smart phones, the LEDs can be used to show logos, welcome messages, wayfinding symbols, or patterns in the carpet.

Occupancy-Sensing Bulbs
Some affordable LED bulbs are now available with built-in motion sensors. These can be used in standard lamp or can fixtures, since the sensor is in the middle of the bulb and has a delay before shutting off. They are a good solution for custodial or utility closets, where the expense of a new fixture might outweigh the benefit, and strong illumination is not necessary.

Future Outlook
Currently manufacturers are working to minimize the hazardous waste created in the LED manufacturing process. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and U.K.-based N14 Energy Limited reported that the “LED bulb of 2017 will have 50% less environmental impacts than today’s LED lamps and 70% less impacts that those found in today’s CFLs, which are not expected to change significantly in the near future.”

Another potential area for advancement is in the application of quantum dot LEDs, currently used in some television screens. The “QD LEDs” may be viable options for lighting installations because they offer more compact, higher quality light; however, products haven’t yet been brought to market.