Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

How many times has this happened to you? You're giving a big presentation to the boss, and the projector bulb burns out. The boss gets mad and fires you and you're poor and your wife leaves you and your kids hate you. Well, that's happened to me plenty of times. But no more.

Osram, an LED company (or, as they prefer to call themselves, an "opto semiconductor" company) has announced that they have developed a white LED that is brighter than any other LED, and very power efficient as well. With a mere 1.4-amp power source, a single LED can output as much as 500 lumens. That's bright enough to illuminate a room, operate as a car headlight, or light up a video projector. There's a small catch...

The 500-lumen output is possible, but only if the device is really cranked. Under standard conditions, with an operating current of 350 mA, brightness peaks at 155 lumen. However, at this power level, the device is more efficient than fluorescent lamps and much more efficient than incandescents.

Even with the 155-lumen caveat, this is an impressive laboratory achievement, and could bring new life to the projector market with efficient, long-lasting light sources. How soon? According to Osram, "We will be gradually moving these new developments into production." Keep your eyes open for this technology, and your sunglasses handy. -Ken C. Pohlmann


Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres