Lighting in Design

German company Infineon Technologies AG and three research partners, Bernitz Electronics GmbH, the Deggendorf Institute of Technology, and the Technische Universität Dresden, have joined forces to research and develop an open development platform for smart lights and lighting systems. The project, dubbed ‘OpenLicht’, “aims to make the creative use of light a possibility for everyone”.

OpenLicht will run as a three-year research project to develop complex, electronically-controlled lighting systems. These will include self-learning networking of light sources with sensor data and with the profiles of individual users.

The four research partners will focus on developing an open source platform consisting of hardware and software, as well as a smart, intuitive, self-learning light control system. Another key element of OpenLicht will be the establishment of a simple networking technology for sensors and actuators using man-machine interfaces for smart building infrastructure.

The end result will be a smart solution that will allow individually adjustable light solutions for a wide range of applications. In a smart home, for instance, light settings such as brightness, warmer or cooler light, and so on, can be individually adjusted for every light source and for every room in the house – adapted to the particular time of day. Owing to self-learning components, brightness and light colour will automatically adapt to current temperature, weather data and personal preferences.

The OpenLicht project is exploring three particular application scenarios: ‘professional lighting’, for industrial users, ‘mood lighting’, for the home, and ‘light modelling’ for designers, architects and artists. By the end of the project, which will run until August 2019, each of these scenarios will have a working demo.

OpenLicht’s vision to “enable everyone to creatively employ modern lighting technology” will be dependent on what they call “completely new lighting concepts and individual experiences”. “What if ... you could form your own bedside lamp out of a sort of modelling clay? ... your light at home was connected to your stereo and your TV and you could experience multimedia-based programmes as they were meant to be experienced? ... the lighting in each room adapted automatically to each person and situation?” These are the questions OpenLicht is intending to answer through its research.

The OpenLicht project has been part-funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its ‘Optical Technologies – Made in Germany’ programme. The BMBF is providing 63% of the approximately 4.5 million Euros required for completion.

OpenLicht is one of ten research projects the BMBF is supporting as part of its ‘Open Photonics’ development programme. The Open Photonics projects are pursuing a wide range of goals, including open innovation approaches for improving the use of photonic components and systems, and open source approaches for promoting their broader use. They also include approaches that will enable the public to be more directly involved in scientific projects.

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