Flexi lighting panels
Perth, 14th September 2010
Technology is progressing so fast and most of all is becoming so small and compact that it can be integrated in the smallest and thinnest objects and materials. We have already seen LED lights being embedded into glass panels, etc, but this morning I saw solar panels made of flexible materials, so called roll up solar panels, an obvious advantage for people on the move as it can be rolled up, packed and easy transported. It has probably been around for a while but is now reaching a greater public in a more affordable way.
This is also the future for lighting, surely. LED’s can be embedded in razor thin, paper like sheets, possibly combined with solar and we have a totally self-supportive, renewable energy/ lighting system, that can be portable too. A bit like the little solar pocket calculators, you can use it nearly anywhere there is a bit of light. If they can manage the size of the battery storage units I would think that solar LED lights can be usable day and night anywhere. Put that into a flexible panel form and you have a very versatile system. It can be configured as a light source but also as multi-media screen (electronic newspaper) and with additional wireless technology the news can be updated as you read! Surely the researchers and innovators have already worked this one out. It is just a matter of it being commercially viable as with all new technologies.
But interesting for us as lighting designers would be how we can use its flexibility in applying lighting effects. For one it could be wrapped around a column used as wall paper and if it works on transparent materials be applied on windows. That is a part that really intrigues me. Windows that let natural daylight in during the day but turn into artificial light sources at night. Add in the mix the control of colour and intensity and potentially we will have surface finishes that can be changed in brightness and color instantly (or gradually) accordong to need.
I would not be surprised that in the future the down light as we know it will have been gradually replaced by paper thin light sheets…time will tell.