The application of embedded lighting breaks through the tired paradigms of light bulbs and light fixtures and opens up exciting new opportunities for both the design and application of architectural lighting systems. Here’s a quick intro into this next revolution in lighting, and what might be the position of printed optics into it.[caption id="attachment_4694" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Signify (former Philips Lighting) has been expirementing with embedded lighting for some years now.[/caption]
Embedded Lighting: A Fusion of Light and Materials
When dynamic lighting fuses into the material surfaces of a space, it has the potential to make a profound impact on the way people feel, the way they act, the way they interact with others, the way they interact with the space itself.
“Embedded lighting” has the potential to transfer messages. It has the potential to make a statement with unique visual attraction in a multitude of applications.
A great talk of Brad Koerner (former Philips Lighting) about the future of architectural lighting at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. Source: Signify.
There are numerous challenges and opportunities the lighting industry faces in driving the acceptance of new architectural lighting applications. From an architectural view, embedded lighting systems integrate seamlessly into the existing design and engineering workflows, with digital controls.
However, if the lighting industry can’t reduce the overall project costs of these offerings, it is expected these systems will remain forever a luxury feature for only the most high-end projects.[caption id="attachment_4690" align="alignnone" width="710"] The Fusion of Light and Materials is at the core of Embedded Lighting Systems. Image Credits: Lucept.[/caption]
Printed Optics and Embedded Lighting
On the functional side of the solution, technologies such as printed optics and electronics are advancing fast enough so they are quickly becoming practical for rapid prototyping, pre-series and small manufacturing volumes. As with all the advances in digital 3D printing technologies, printed optics hold the promise of both digital customization and small-volume, cost-effective products due to the fact there is no physical manufacturing tooling involved (direct CAD-to-Optic fabrication). As such, minimum order quantities are 1.
As for “e-textiles”, conductive traces are woven into various types of fabrics. Many types of fabrics are already used in architectural interiors and exteriors. It seems a natural opportunity to add lighting to fabric surfaces, and also from an optical perspective, optically textured surfaces or even functional optical elements can potentially be embedded into it.[caption id="attachment_4692" align="alignnone" width="1024"] 3D printed optical textures by Luximprint are a great way to quickly validate large optical (and non-optical) surfaces.[/caption]
In any case, the large format optics capabilities of the Luximprint additive optics fabrication process enable designers of large format textures – both optical and non-optical to validate their designs and fabrication tooling quickly.
The Future of Integrating Lighting into Architectural Systems
Looking forward to the future, it is readily conceivable that the actual LED light engines and associated electronics could be additively fabricated directly into architectural panels; plus the panels themselves may be digitally fabricated. Such a combination will allow for wild architectural forms with lighting systems seamlessly embedded.