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Sep. 03, 2013

This Is a 'Light Bulb'?

by Ira Flatow

Click to enlarge images
This is not a flying saucer. It's a light fixture. The kind you hang from a ceiling. Usually they come with a light bulb, but not this one. This one is made from light emitting diodes, or LEDs. And even for a guy like me who has been fooling around with nerdy electrical devices for 40 years, opening the box and looking inside caught me by surprise.
 
There were no incadescent bulbs—filament or fluorescent. Instead, all I saw was a sea of squares, tiny ones spaced evenly across a flat plate. Look closely at the picture. Each square is an LED. Try to imagine every one of them—I counted 144—shining brightly. Total wattage: 24. But boy do they ever give off light. One of these babies brightens up an entire room. 
 
Know what would be fun? To leave the plastic light diffuser off of the device and let it hang on the ceiling—or even a wall—just like this. Don't tell people what it is, but leave a switch nearby that says "flip this" and watch what happens when the person is bathed in the bright light coming from...from what?! Will they be surprised? Absolutely. 'Cause no one would guess that this is what the lighting fixture of the future looks like. 
 
When are you getting yours?
About Ira Flatow

Ira is the host and executive producer of Science Friday.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

Science Friday® is produced by the Science Friday Initiative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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