Hot Tech 2015: Bright future for smart light

This article is part of EDN, Embedded.com and EE Times’ Hot Technologies: Looking ahead to 2015 feature, where our editors examine some of the hot trends and technologies in 2014 that promise to shape technology news in 2015 and beyond.

Imagine a world where the lights in our homes and workplaces help keep us healthier, more productive, and happier. In this world, students attend classes in rooms with lighting systems designed to help them learn more quickly and stay more alert. Hospitals use light in unique ways, flooding the rooms and halls with spectra designed to help accelerate recovery from surgery and rally a patient's natural healing capabilities. Does this sound like science fiction? Think again. It's human-centric lighting.

For those not familiar with this new, and seemingly vague, term, human-centric lighting (HCL) is a technology born from the convergence of LED technology, smart objects, and new findings on how light can be used to enhance our comfort, productivity, and health. Such lofty goals may seem like a tall order for a humble quantum well device, but its efficiency and unique spectral capabilities are already being harnessed to serve our growing understanding of the profound effects that light has on the human endocrine system, our metabolism, and even our brains.

To read more of this external content, go to “Smart light's bright future.”

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