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CES Feature Articles

January 12, 2012

Lighting the Path to Innovation at CES

It’s been an exciting time here at CES, with so many exciting and interesting new products and ideas on display. Some are very conceptual that may take time to gain traction, while others are very practical with great promise.

While it may not be the most exciting type of product in that it’s not based on interactivity, social media, music, or other hot product categories, one of the best products I’ve seen so far is a light bulb. Yes, a light bulb. In fact, part of what makes it so interesting is its lack of interactivity – it lasts about 25 times longer than the average incandescent lamp we’re all using today, which means you won’t have to replace it for almost the same number of years. Imagine screwing in a bulb and not having to worry about replacing it until after your kids are through college.

In addition, these LED bulbs from Switch Lighting use about 80 percent less energy than their incandescent equivalents, while providing the same output. Anyone who has tried most other LED bulbs on the market – or fluorescents, for that matter – is familiar with the cold, bluish glow they emit, and the highly directionality of the light from LEDs. What’s great about the Switch lamps is their warm, yellow glow – just like incandescent bulbs – and their radial flux, meaning they emit light in the same spherical distribution pattern we’re used to, filling the room with gentle light that’s easy on the eyes.

How do they do it? The secret is really in the pattern of the LEDs and the liquid filled globe – the liquid is a food-grade component used in, among other things, beer and cosmetics, so there is no health or environmental risk. And the entire bulb is designed to be 100 percent recyclable, either to be reused to manufacture new bulbs, or otherwise put back into other market uses.

If you have high vaulted ceilings, the Switch bulbs are an ideal alternative, keeping you from having to climb ladders to replace them regularly. Whereas most LEDs and fluorescents tend to burn out quickly when installed upside down – because they are designed to keep the bulb itself cool and concentrate heat at the driver, causing them to burn out – these bulbs are designed to distribute the heat over the entire lamp, allowing the heat to dissipate into the air more rapidly, keeping them from burning out.

CEO Tracy Bilbrough tells me the company has received significant interest from all of the top retailers of light bulbs, and expects to be available in at least one of them by the end of this year. The target price point is a very reasonable under-20-dollars per bulb. Expensive for a single lamp? By today’s standards, yes. But, extend that over their lifespan and it plays out to under $1 per year.

Will they allow you to connect various devices in your home to view different content? No. Can you use them to send messages to your friends? No. Can you play music through them? No.

But, when you install these bulbs in your home, you won’t have to worry about replacing them for up to a quarter century, and you can use that time to enjoy many of the other exciting products here at CES (News - Alert). To find out what those are, check out TMCnet’s CES news coverage. And, for those of you who are constantly having to turn off your outside lights to keep bugs from flying indoors, you no longer have to worry about that – because they emit no ultraviolet and nearly no infrared rays, bugs aren’t attracted to them.

Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page. Follow Erik on Twitter (News - Alert) @elinask.

Edited by Erik Linask

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