LEDs fight for the Edison socket

Author:
Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

Date
03/21/2015

 PDF
porn porntube

Alix Paultre, Editorial Director, PSD

Unfortunately technology development is guided (and often blocked) by the infrastructure issues of the previous technology(s). Nowhere is this more apparent than in solid state lighting, especially that driven by LEDs.

There is an old story in technology development that asks about the dimensions of the space shuttle and how it was determined by the width of two horses’ butts. Long story short, the shuttle made design decisions based on the available rail gauge of 4 feet, 8 1/2 inches, which in a convoluted trail turns out to be the width of old roman roads, based on the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot, which was the width of two horses. The shuttle couldn’t be larger because the roads and rails they needed to use to ship parts had a size restriction grandfathered from the dawn of modern history.

In electronics, old standards and technologies are our bane. The particularly sorry state of American cell phone service is directly related to the development issues in a country where the existing infrastructures were so good they stifled better products in the marketplace. This was further exacerbated by industry efforts to use the oldest technologies for as long as possible, allowing other markets to leapfrog them in both technology and functionality.

This has been the case for solid-state lighting, and in particular LEDs. The core tech to create high-quality cost-effective luminaires with LEDs has been around for almost a decade, yet we are only just now starting to bring LED lights into our homes. A great part of the reason is that nobody bothered to develop LED lights that didn’t fit the traditional Edison socket, created over 100 years ago to retrofit candleholders to the new electric lights.

Inertia is a powerful thing, often more powerful than markets and governments. However, one could argue that the huge delay in developing unique lighting solutions using LEDs gave competitive manufacturers the time to better their tech and create a stilted market where the ability to fit in a light bulb socket is the primary goal. As a result, the market had to endure the poor intermediate tech of glass-tube-based mercury-using CFLs that will take years to purge from the market.

Ironically, as the tech continues to improve to serve the cramped, hot, and inefficient Edison socket with LEDs, it gives creative designers even more flexibility to create new lighting designs that aren’t bound by current ideas of size and form. Additional irony can be found in the fact that many lights, chandeliers, and other luminaires have significant bulb-based design compromises from when they were created.

A light bulb is actually a pretty ugly thing, and one can marvel at the ingenuity of the designers of the past in putting hot, fragile incandescent bulbs in a way that is beautiful, safe, and accessible for bulb replacement. The fact that today’s designers are free from having to manage that much (thermals are still important) heat, don’t have to hide a big glass bulb, and don’t have to worry about reaching in and changing any given lamp should mean a new explosion of lighting designs. One hopes.Unfortunately technology development is guided (and often blocked) by the infrastructure issues of the previous technology(s). Nowhere is this more apparent than in solid state lighting, especially that driven by LEDs.

There is an old story in technology development that asks about the dimensions of the space shuttle and how it was determined by the width of two horses’ butts. Long story short, the shuttle made design decisions based on the available rail gauge of 4 feet, 8 1/2 inches, which in a convoluted trail turns out to be the width of old roman roads, based on the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot, which was the width of two horses. The shuttle couldn’t be larger because the roads and rails they needed to use to ship parts had a size restriction grandfathered from the dawn of modern history.

In electronics, old standards and technologies are our bane. The particularly sorry state of American cell phone service is directly related to the development issues in a country where the existing infrastructures were so good they stifled better products in the marketplace. This was further exacerbated by industry efforts to use the oldest technologies for as long as possible, allowing other markets to leapfrog them in both technology and functionality.

This has been the case for solid-state lighting, and in particular LEDs. The core tech to create high-quality cost-effective luminaires with LEDs has been around for almost a decade, yet we are only just now starting to bring LED lights into our homes. A great part of the reason is that nobody bothered to develop LED lights that didn’t fit the traditional Edison socket, created over 100 years ago to retrofit candleholders to the new electric lights.

Inertia is a powerful thing, often more powerful than markets and governments. However, one could argue that the huge delay in developing unique lighting solutions using LEDs gave competitive manufacturers the time to better their tech and create a stilted market where the ability to fit in a light bulb socket is the primary goal. As a result, the market had to endure the poor intermediate tech of glass-tube-based mercury-using CFLs that will take years to purge from the market.

Ironically, as the tech continues to improve to serve the cramped, hot, and inefficient Edison socket with LEDs, it gives creative designers even more flexibility to create new lighting designs that aren’t bound by current ideas of size and form. Additional irony can be found in the fact that many lights, chandeliers, and other luminaires have significant bulb-based design compromises from when they were created.

A light bulb is actually a pretty ugly thing, and one can marvel at the ingenuity of the designers of the past in putting hot, fragile incandescent bulbs in a way that is beautiful, safe, and accessible for bulb replacement. The fact that today’s designers are free from having to manage that much (thermals are still important) heat, don’t have to hide a big glass bulb, and don’t have to worry about reaching in and changing any given lamp should mean a new explosion of lighting designs. One hopes.

PSD

RELATED