Category: Technology

Semantic Lighting – An Illuminating New Concept

I recently attended the 10th annual LEDucation seminar in New York City to learn about new trends in lighting technology. I expected to hear a lot about connected homes and lighting controls, but there was one big new concept that caught my imagination.

Since the invention of the light bulb, the ability to light our surroundings has revolutionized how we live. Now, those on the leading edge of lighting innovation believe that illumination will take on a more personal role in our lives, predicting and connecting human needs with lighting systems. This new concept is called “semantic lighting.”

These new lighting systems, through the use of sensors, identify what is being lit and with the help of algorithms, why it is being lit. This “system intelligence” means that lighting needs can be predicted and adjusted automatically, making them more human-centric. And in this day of growing human-machine interactions, who wouldn’t appreciate an application made primarily for our individual comfort?

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At LEDucation, customization of lighting levels, color, hue and effect were presented.

 

Micro-topics in a Macro-space

Written by Lou Lenzi, Director of Industrial Design for GE Appliances

I recently had the pleasure of visiting UCLA’s Architecture and Urban Design (A.UD) department located at the Hercules Campus in Playa Vista, CA, the site where Howard Hughes built the infamous “Spruce Goose” aircraft in the 1940’s.

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The Hercules Building then

The Hercules Building now

The Hercules Building now

Ironically, I was invited to this cavernous space to talk with a group of post-professional Masters of Architecture students and faculty about micro-things, specifically our Monogram micro-kitchen concept for small scale homes and GE Appliances FirstBuild micro-factory.

The students are engaged in a year-long research project that explores what “community” will mean in the second half of the 21st century, factoring in rapidly changing developments in technology, communications, transportation, healthcare and other major societal forces. So it was fitting to visit and exchange ideas around the future of housing and the future of manufacturing.

As a designer, I find it beneficial to occasionally get out of the studio here in Louisville, spend time with design and architecture students and take a look at the world from their perspective. I often find myself becoming the student in these situations.

The design team here at GE Appliances is excited to see this project develop and I promised the faculty to stay close as their research project progresses. It shouldn’t be too tough to get the design staff to visit the class in Southern California – particularly during the winter months.

Let there be light

Written by Lou Lenzi, Director of Industrial Design for GE Appliances

French door refrigerators are the rage today. Everyone loves the experience of opening those double-doors and seeing a wide, unobstructed view of the contents of their fridge. Those panoramic views of your boxed wine and party trays are often enhanced by a collection of LED spot lights mounted in tiny “pucks” built into the side walls of the refrigerator case. So dramatic is the presentation, that we’ve actually witnessed homeowners hum a heavenly choral tune while opening their fridge doors.

We decided to take this experience to the next level with our new Monogram French Door Bottom Freezer Refrigerator by embedding a row of LED’s directly into each of the four adjustable glass shelves. This not only creates the visual drama worthy of a Paul Mottram movie soundtrack, it more effectively distributes lighting throughout the entire refrigerator space.

Wait a minute: there are LED lights embedded in adjustable glass shelves? So how do they plug in and yet remain adjustable up and down in the refrigerator?

Two of our industrial designers, Sally and Justin, got together in the Design Studio and figured it out. They created an electrical circuit that employs the metal bracket that holds the shelves as a low voltage “bus” and couple it with a tiny prong at the end of each of the 4 adjustable shelves.

 

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Is your refrigerator illuminating your food in its best possible light? Are such gastronomical theatrics worth it? We’d like to know.