An accidental discovery announced this week has taken LED lighting to a new level, suggesting it could soon offer a cheaper, longer-lasting alternative to the traditional light bulb. The miniature breakthrough adds to a growing trend that is likely to eventually make Thomas Edison’s bright invention obsolete […]

LEDs produce twice as much light as a regular 60 watt bulb and burn for over 50,000 hours. The Department of Energy estimates LED lighting could reduce U.S. energy consumption for lighting by 29 percent by 2025. LEDs don’t emit heat, so they’re also more energy efficient. And they’re much harder to break.

Not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but you have to assume that the companies that manufacture light bulbs have had the technology for a long time (and it’s only just beginning to creep into the market) to make bulbs that last virtually forever. What they haven’t figured out, though, is how to turn a profit off of such things. The prices necessary to keep a market of permanent goods afloat is to charge truly astronomical processes.

How, then, will this new invention affect the market (and, in turn, be affected by normal market processes)? Will be initially see LEDs with artificially limited lifespans? Will corporate lobbyists influence the gov’t to delay their availability? Or will they hop on it, and technology will truly do some good?

Then, too, this is a single article on a single website. Speaking of technological revolutions would be facile and specious. Still, I’ll keep my eye on this one.

§811 · October 22, 2005 · Tags: ·

3 Comments to “Mehr Licht!”

  1. Andy says:

    EVERY corporation designs failure into their products in some way. Why do cars so often break down the month their warranties are up, e.g.?

  2. Ben says:

    Is it that nefarious? I’m loathe to trust corporate entities in general, but one could also argue that low quality isn’t a profit motive so much as a byproduct of the demand for cheap products.

  3. phisrow says:

    One hopeful sign in this instance is that the leading edge of the LED market is a bunch of companies quite seperate from the makers of ordinary light bulbs. Most of the former are semiconductor people or optoelectronic offshoots thereof, while the latter are more tranditional industrial concerns.

    It wouldn’t at all surprise me if incandescents remain longer than technically necessary in regulated lighting markets(e.g. automotive lighting, airplane landing lights, and whatnot); but I strongly doubt that there will be too much supression going on in general.

    Now, on the other hand, it might take quite some time for LEDs to really take off, even without a conspiracy. incandescents are, for all their faults, very, very cheap and quite well evolved. The CCFs coming into vogue now solve most of the efficiency and partially solve the operational life problem without becoming too expensive. LEDs have a ways to go before we start finding them outside of technophilic early adopter pads and niche applications where changing the bulb just isn’t an option.

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