January 2009

Joshua bellIncognito – a Violinist in the Metro

Who is he? Read on to find out – and be amazed.

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. 

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars .

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?  Open your eyes. Open your ears. Open your hearts and your minds. Station identification by LEDinsider


Cambridge University’s Centre for Gallium Nitride has developed a new way of making GaN which could produce LEDs for a tenth of current prices and see household lighting bills reduced by up to 75 percent within five years.  

The Gallium Nitride LED bulbs do not contain mercury, a neurotoxin contained in CFLs that many associate with migraines, brain damage and epileptic fits, like CFL bulbs do.  GaN LEDs also are dimmable, do not flicker and reach maximum brightness as soon as they are switched on. Gallium Nitride LEDs could lower energy consumption for lights from 5 to 20 percent. 



A GaN LED can burn for 100,000 hours . They can also last
100,000 hours, which is about 1
0 times as long as fluorescent lamps, and would cost $3 each, a huge cost-savings over more expensive LEDs. 


This new generation of GaN LED lighting promises to be
three times more efficient than commercially-available fluorescent lighting. 
The new LEDs use Gallium Nitride (GaN), a man-made semiconductor that emits a brilliant
bright light but uses very little electricity. Until now, high production costs have made GaN lighting too expensive for widespread use in homes and offices.

The new technique grows GaN on silicon wafers, which achieves a 50% improvement in cost and efficiency on previous approaches to grow GaN in labs on expensive sapphire
wafers that have been the method of manufacture since the 1990s.

GaN lights could well be just we need to provide our lighting needs more cost-effectively and energy-efficiently for the future. Scientists are very close to achieving highly efficient, low cost white LEDs that can take the place of both traditional and currently available low-energy light bulbs. That won’t just be good news for the environment, it will also benefit consumers by
cutting their electricity bills.”

Light Emitting Diode (LED)  “Light-emitting diodes give off light when electrons in a semiconductor oscillate. Unlike ordinary bulbs, they don’t have filaments (the part that burns out easily), nor do they get hot like incandescents do. Plus, LEDs last far longer than standard bulbs, sometimes up to 100,000 hours. In lab tests, some LEDs have proved to be more efficient than compact fluorescents, though it may be a few years before we see those LEDs on the market… In the next few years, as LEDs get brighter, we’ll likely see a major shift away from incandescents and fluorescents.” From Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century

www.Eaglelight.com and www.LEDinsider.com have excellent selection and value in LED replacement lights.

Hat-tip BobKart


Why Choose LED lamps over CFLs?

LED lamps typically use less power (watts) per unit of light generated (lumens). A good LED lamp can generate twice as many lumens per watt as a CFL (50-100+ versus 40-80).
– less greenhouse gas emissions from power plants
– lower electric bills

LED lamps last much longer than CFLs, as much as 10x longer (50,000 hours versus 5,000 hours).
– fewer spent lamps in the landfill
– less frequent lamp purchasing/changing, especially important for hard-to-reach lamp locations

LED lamps generate less heat than CFLs.
– decreased load on Air Conditioning systems
– reduced danger of burns from touching lamps
– reduced fire hazards

LED lamps typically are RoHS compliant, meaning that they have no or at most negligible amounts of hazardous substances within the scope of that compliance (lead, cadmium, mercury, …). CFLs on the other hand all have 1mg-5mg of Mercury (even more in tubular fluorsecent lamps), and no doubt many people are not properly disposing of spent CFLs, resulting in Mercury making its way into the environment, with serious consequences. And if a CFL were to break in your house you might be exposed to Mercury.
– virtually no risk of environmental contamination
– no risk of personal exposure to hazardous materials

LED lamps tend not to have unpredictable failure modes. There are stories of CFLs catching fire, emitting smoke and odors, exploding, etc. The ballast circuitry in CFLs can fail in a variety of ways, some not so pleasant for anyone in the same room/house. This is especially the case when market pressure causes the designers to cut corners to save production costs. LED drivers are not nearly as unstable and usually fail by just no longer supplying power to the LEDs themselves.
– virtually no risk of fire/smoke/odor

LED lamps emit no Infrared or Ultraviolet radiation. CFLs (and tubular fluorescent lamps) generate light by exciting the Mercury vapor inside the lamp with electricity, generating Ultraviolet radiation, which stimulates the phosphor coating on the inner surface of the glass bulb, causing it to re-radiate most of the Ultraviolet radiation as visible light. LED lamps generally create “white” light by using blue LEDs and a phosphor coating which re-radiates some of the blue light as longer wavelength light (yellow range of the spectrum), together appearing as white.
– no personal exposure to Ultraviolet radiation, which can cause cell damage
– artwork and other sensitive items are not degraded as a result of exposure to Ultraviolet radiation

LED lamps are not sensitive to frequent power cycling. The lifetime of CFLs (and tubular fluorescent lamps) is reduced by turning them on/off more than a certain number of times per day. The “rated” lifetimes of such lamps is usually based on assumptions that they will be left on, say 3-4 hours, each time they are turned on, rather than having that 3-4 hours be spread out over many on/off cycles. The actual lifetime of a fluorescent lamp will suffer compared to its “rated” lifetime if this “on-time” assumption is not adhered to. This can lead to people thinking they should not turn off their lights as often as might be best for energy conservation purposes, leading to wasted energy.
– no concern about how often you turn on/off your lights

LED lamps have better control over the direction(s) in which their light is emitted. This is advantageous in applications where you only want the light to go in one general direction (unidirectional) rather than in all directions (omnidirectional). Think of recessed ceiling lighting where any light not directed downward is wasted. LEDs tend to generate light in one direction. By using lenses in the LED lamp, this light can be spread out to achieve various specified beam angles. To do with with incandescent or fluorescent light sources, which emit light in all directions, a reflector must be used (the ‘R’ part of ‘PAR38’ for example), and these reflectors are never perfect, causing some light loss in the process. This further increases the efficiency advantage of LED lamps over traditional light sources.
– less wasted light

LED lamps turn on instantly (reaching full brightness immediately).  CFLs tend to have a warm-up period which may range from a few seconds to over a minute.  During this warm-up period they are not as bright as they eventually become.  This can lead to problems ranging from having to wait for light levels to increase to a useful level, wasting your time, to turning the lights on before you really need them, in anticipation of the warm-up period, wasting electricity.
– no wasted time or electricity

LED lamps can be used in colder temperatures than CFLs.  Most CFLs will not turn on or will only emit very low levels of light in the cold (near freezing).  I have not heard of a low-temperature limit for LED lamps although there may be one, but I’m sure it’s much lower than that of CFLs.

  – effective in cold temperatures



Bridgelux Inc of Sunnyvale, CA, USA, which designs and makes power LED chips based on ITO/InGaN (indium tin oxide/indium gallium nitride), has launched an LED array product line to provide high-performance, compact and cost-effective light sources for solid-state lighting (SSL).

Picture (left): Bridgelux’s Rectautral white LED chip.

The LED arrays have been specifically developed to simplify system-level integration for lamp and luminaire manufacturers, further reducing system cost. Typical applications include task, accent, spot, track, down-light, wide-area and security lighting. This global market is currently estimated by the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance (NGLIA) to be about $40bn. Bridgelux estimates that the annual market potential for LED lamps and luminaires alone will be about $10bn by 2012.

The product suite is designed to deliver comparable performance to standard incandescent, halogen, compact fluorescent and high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps. The arrays have an output of 400-2000 lumens and are offered in warm-, neutral- and cool-white color temperatures, allowing optimization of the light distribution for specific applications. They also offer improved energy efficiency, lower maintenance cost and the elimination of hazardous materials (e.g. mercury or lead found in traditional lighting technologies), while delivering a uniform, high-quality light source, the firm claims. The arrays are RoHS compliant and are tested and binned to an ANSI/Energy Star compliant binning structure.

“Bridgelux’s innovative packaging technology not only offers a light source that can be seamlessly integrated into a luminaire, but also delivers increased usable light though a simplified thermal design,” says director of marketing Jason Posselt. “These products have been designed with the end application in mind, focusing on delivering both the quantity and quality of light required for general lighting applications together with an ability to significantly reduce the cost of light.” The LED Array technology should enable the optimization of overall system design, reducing SSL manufacturing costs, he adds.

Bridgelux controls all of the core LED technologies involved—from epitaxy to packaging—enabling it to deliver light sources that can be integrated easily into lamp and luminaire designs, reducing system cost and accelerating time-to-market, the firm claims. The LED array also improves the light source’s lumen per watt per dollar performance.

Picture (right): Bridgelux’s Star cool white LED chip.

“This product launch represents a significant milestone achievement in line with the company’s commitment to deliver high-quality, energy-efficient lighting solutions,” says CEO Mark Swoboda. “Lamps and luminaires that incorporate LED lighting sources will play an increasingly important role in our effort to reduce overall carbon footprint by minimizing energy consumption and eliminating the use of hazardous materials,” he adds.

Light-emitting diodes use as little as one-tenth the power of an incandescent bulb. LEDs produce clear bright light and last for up to 20 years.   LED lamps are used in street lights, office buildings and homes. Famed inventor Dean Kamen recently changed all the lighting on a three-acred island he owns off the coast of Connecticut to LEDs.  Mr. Kamen jokingly calls the island  “the world’s first LED nation.”  The island has its own constitution flag and national anthem!  When the US Coast Guard cut electricity to the island’s lighthouse in favor of solar power, Kamen decided to take the island off the grid, using exclusively renewable energy sources along with the latest technilogical innovations in water purification and lighting – and of course the Seque – to achieve net zero energy meaning its energy use will be cancelled out by its energy generation.Dean Kamen LEDsDean Kamen’s home with LED lighting. (Photos: John Brandon Miller)Mr. Kamen set about to produce power through wind and solar and converted the lighting to LEDs.  LED lighting typically uses about one-tenth the power consumed by standard incandescent fixtures.

Mr. Kamen enlisted the help of his long-time friend, Fritz Morgan, chief technology officer of Philips Color Kinetics. The replaced all the incandescent fixtures from Mr. Kamen’s home with Color Kinetics LED products.  This included LED PAR38s, downlights, undercabinet kitchen lights and wall-washers that bathe the exterior in changing color patterns

Using the LED replacement bulbs, they cut the energy consumption of existing lights by 70 percent. Better yet, the LEDs won’t have to be changed for years. Using solar power, the island is now off the grid!

Rohm Semiconductor will introduce LED lamps to replace incandescent or fluorescent products.


In March 2009, Japanese component manufacturer Rohm Semiconductor will begin selling LED-based lighting fixtures for offices and commercial facilities.

Prototype LED light

The company will sell five types of LED light fixtures, each shaped like an incandescent or fluorescent light and containing several hundred of Rohm’s 1-3 mm sq. LED chips.

The company had prototype versions of the fixtures on its booth at the Electronica tradeshow in November 2008 (see photo).

On the strength of the energy-conserving nature of such fixtures, Rohm is aiming for $110 million in sales in fiscal 2010.



Cree, Inc., a market leader in LED lighting, announced that Indian Wells, California, has joined the LED City initiative, an international program that promotes the deployment of energy-efficient LED lighting. The city has converted much of the lighting in City Hall, the Emergency Operations Center and the Public Works Maintenance Facility in Indian Wells to LED lighting. Indian Wells is home to several world-class resorts and is internationally recognized for hosting high-profile golf and tennis events.

"It is initiatives like these that have made California a world leader in energy efficiency," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "I applaud the City of Indian Wells and the University of California, Davis for promoting the kinds of energy-efficiency measures that California needs to meet our aggressive goal of 33-percent renewable energy by 2020."

All circular recessed lighting in the buildings was converted to the Cree LR6 LED light, reducing electricity consumption by 80 percent. The City of Indian Wells plans to evaluate LED lighting for other municipal lighting applications to further increase its energy savings.

Get your CREE LED lights at LEDinsider or Eaglelight which have the best in value and service.


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