The Alliance for Solid-State Illumination Systems and Technologies (ASSIST), an LED industry group organized by the LRC, unveiled a novel concept for lighting homes and offices. The design integrates light-emitting diode (LED) technology with building materials and systems to create electronic walls and ceilings. The design includes interchangeable, modular panels with integrated LED lighting fixtures that "snap" in and out of an electrical grid. Occupants can change the location of light fixtures or introduce new fixtures on a whim to satisfy their needs or their mood.

"The new concept represents a paradigm shift in the way people think about lighting and the way we build and design interiors," said Nadarajah Narendran, Ph.D., LRC director of research and head of the LRC's Solid-State Lighting Program.

The design team, led by Dr. Narendran and Russ Leslie, LRC associate director and architect, built a full-scale vignette of an executive office at the LRC to showcase the group's ideas for adaptable lighting. Rearranging the LED panels on the walls and ceiling in the room is easier than moving furniture, according to the researchers. There is no need to drill holes, patch drywall, call an electrician, or lay out the room according to where the electric sockets are installed. Once in place, the LED panels are controlled by a touch-screen LCD panel mounted on the wall.

According to Narendran, over the past 100 years, traditional lighting has acted as an add-on to spaces. LEDs, however, offer new ways to light an area. This rapidly evolving technology can be embedded into any type of architecture due to its small size, ruggedness, and long life.

"The transformation from gas lighting to electric lighting called for a quantum leap in infrastructure change, but people embraced the new system because the technology allowed for better lighting, flexibility, and a host of additional technological advances," said Leslie. "Our proposed concept is an equivalent leap in technology and infrastructure change, and one that promotes a ‘tunable' lighting environment for improved vision, mood, productivity, health, and aesthetics."