Intelligent Energy

Broadening the appeal of LEDs: Taiwan's wide beam bulb

Broadening the appeal of LEDs: Taiwan's wide beam bulb

Posting in Energy

Some critics say LED bulbs, with their pointed light source, cast illumination that's too narrow. The Industrial Technology Research Institute says it has just solved that problem.

One of the knocks against LED light bulbs, according to some people, is that they cast too narrow a beam for room illumination. LED light comes from a pointed source - a diode - rather than from the broader filament of incandescent bulbs and thus doesn't spread out as we're used to, the crticism goes.

Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute is tackling the problem head-on.

According to Taiwan Today, ITRI has unveiled an LED bulb that casts a beam angle of 330 degrees.

"Major international players, such as Netherlands-based Royal Philips Electronics N.V. - have recently been focusing much effort on increasing the beam angle of LED light bulbs, whose narrower beam is one of their main disadvantages when compared to traditional light bulbs, according to ITRI," writes Taiwan Today, citing ITRI.

The story is scant on details. It says that at 100 grams, the bulb is less than half the weight of LED bulbs currently on the market.

LED bulbs have plenty of challenges: price, light temperature (some people consider them too harsh to generally replace incandescents), and variable quality that undermines vendor claims that they last for 25 years. We've written plenty about these issues - see the links below.

But with electricity consumption that's 20 percent of conventional bulbs, they should eventually play a big role in energy conservation and CO2 reduction. Developments like those at ITRI should help LED vendors cast a wider net across the world lighting market.

Photo from Industrial Technology Research Institute via Taiwan Today

More LED lightness and dark on SmartPlanet:

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Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure