LEDs are not a new technology and have actually been around for over 50 years. However, the development of white LEDs has seen them gain more mainstream use, while their efficiency has lead LEDs to be adopted by organisations around the world, and people at home. While commonly used in lamps or as notification lights on devices, there are also cases for LEDs being used to improve student performance, bring more efficiency to workplaces, and allow for smart street lighting, among other uses.
Increasing the performance of students
LEDs have now recently been shown to improve the performance of students in the classroom. This is done by using what is known as “biologically-optimized” lighting, which is produced by combining white and blue LEDs. This lighting was able to use this artificial lighting to simulate daylight, allowing students to increase their concentration and cognitive performance.
The benefits for students and teachers
The researchers said that this new biologically-optimized light would allow students’ circadian rhythms to move, meaning they’d become more alert during the day. It is thought by the researchers conducting the study that this would be able to counteract tiredness in the mornings that young people frequently experience, which is also known as “social jet lag.”
When questioned, students said they were able to concentrate, and no longer had to struggle to stay awake in the classroom. This doesn’t just apply to the students, either. The teachers also said they felt better after the study was completed. This development through the use of LEDs in the classroom could lead to improved grades and test scores across the nation and the world.
There was also a study where 84 third graders were exposed to normal or focused light. There was an interesting discovery, where those exposed to focus light had a higher increase in oral reading fluency, which was 36%. This was in contrast to those who were exposed to normal light, where the increase was just 17%, less than half the percentage increase.
Despite this, the lighting did not affect the young students’ concentration or motivation, thought this was attributed to their young age in comparison to other studies which focused on older European students.
Efficiency at home and for businesses
LEDs are already useful on their own, but when you can control them via the internet, they become a lot more dynamic. This is done by scheduling a time for your lights to turn on, as well as things like the heating. This is also similar in the business world, where LEDs can be set to turn on and off when you need them to be, allowing for cost saving.
Smarter street lighting
Moving outside of the home and office, LED-based street lighting can also become more widespread. By using the internet to control the street lights, local authorities will be able to easily change lighting patterns in ways that are impossible without it. This includes regulating the amount of blue light being emitted, which can affect your sleep, according to Harvard Health Publications. The Internet of Things also allows the street lights to be independent of power sources, being able to use solar panels for their power.
A democracy of public lighting
The flexibility of LEDs allows for different uses for the technology, and could also allow for different areas, zones and neighbourhoods to have independently controlled lighting. This would be controlled by a central system, meaning areas where late night shopping takes place can remain brighter for customers, while historic areas could have lower levels of lighting.
Improvements to health and safety
As well as being able to light different zones, this would also mean health and safety could be improved. In an area where there was an accident or car crash, the emergency services could coordinate with the local authority to raise the level of light in the area for better visibility. Using the Internet of Things in conjunction with consulting local residents, business owners and drivers would allow these zones to be set up in ways that would suit the majority of people.
Bringing low-cost lighting to poorer areas
This idea can also be applied to poorer areas, where affordability and efficiency are key. With solar panels increasing efficiency and providing energy, there is a real possibility of LED strips could be incorporated into buildings to provide near zero-cost lighting to the inhabitants. As this technology continues to develop, it could even be used in other devices such as computer screens, TVs, and lighting for homes or locales across the world. In poorer parts of the world, it could also help with setting up lighting off the grid. When combined with the Internet of Things, a small authority could help to revolutionise a poorer community.
Author: Jocelyn Brown