OLEDs are like a new type of magical material, self-illuminating and eco-friendly. They are organic and work in a way similar to the bioluminescence that makes a firefly and certain deep sea fish glow. OLEDs can be extremely thin, flexible, varying in shapes, colors and sizes, some are even transparent while providing a lovely ambient glow. The function and creative possibilities of OLEDs in clothing, furniture, jewelry, and art are only as limited as the creator’s imagination. Here are 33 excellent OLED eco-friendly and energy efficient designs, from the super-sly spy to the interactive.
The Future of OLED Lighting
Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are a new type of LED where a thin film of organic compounds is used to produce electroluminescence. This means that OLEDs can produce paper-thin lights and displays — even fold-able ones. Can you imagine rolling down your blinds to brighten your room? How about wallpaper with transparent OLED lighting? These are in the early stages of development as well as illuminated outwear such as for firefighters, portable and flexible lamps, and reflectors for bicyclist. These super thin, stretchable and bendable OLEDs are in development to become a part of everyday settings.
Advancing Leaps and Bounds
In 2008, roll-to-roll processed OLEDs became a reality. Shortly after that, the first ever OLED Christmas tree was displayed by GE. Recently however, there has been yet another leap forward in design, new efficient OLEDs cavities. These new OLEDs are five times as efficient as standard OLEDs and use five times as much light per watt consumed. They are ready to make white light by mixing green, red and blue OLEDs. This new tech could arrive as soon as 2010.
Super Thin TVs
OLED technology delivers a more energy efficient means of utilizing light. It generates by the organic material in the OLED itself instead of a backlight that is always “on”, meaning when they are “off”, they consume no power whatsoever. Over a year ago, Sony sold 11-inch OLED TVs. It was the first time in the world for such a feat where the super skinny TVs had OLEDs that measured 3mm at the thinnest part! The remote control from the XEL-1 was only 10mm thick. More companies continue to follow suit.
OLED in the Now
Some cool products have recently been released that incorporate OLEDs. The Murakami chair is attached to an OLED light source that is powered by rocking back and forth. But what if you rock during the daytime when it’s light? The OLED lamp senses light or dark and will store the energy you create by rocking in the day, so you will have light at night. Another cool product is from Ennova Direct Corporation who created the world’s first USB flash drive which comes equipped with an OLED display. The retractable USB device has an integrated biometric fingerprint scanner on the interactive OLED display that changes color upon of the success or failure of each finger swipe. Lastly, Visionox has come up with wall art that has decorative OLED-lighting built into the designs.
OLED Lighting Goes Mainstream in 2011
OLED technology has mainly been used in display applications like TVs, handset products and lighting applications. But OLEDs have a bright future, since the thickness of OLED panels are reaching less than 1mm thick and the flexibility has become more and more limitless. Now their eye-catching illumination and design elements may start to show up in more than products with tight spaces for lighting. The above photos were snapped at in Frankfurt, Germany. These are new lighting and lamp designs.
Transparent OLEDs are coming. Scientists from Philips Research are currently advancing towards the development of transparent OLEDs like the ones pictured above. Philips shared these images of see-through OLEDs as new lighting applications.
Philips showed off their latest efforts in OLED lighting at the “100% Design Fair” in London. The prototype hanging lights have an appealing design and OLED illumination. They are made with the consumer in mind, but also promise lower power consumption. Also in the motion-sensitive product range, they have “pebble” decorative lamps. The left bottom two images are more than prototypes and can be purchased in varying shapes and colors from their Lumiblade shop.
This Reflections mirror automatically dims and brightens squares of OLED light around your refection. Philips has many interesting lighting concepts in their Lumiblade shop where you can purchase an “experience kit”, but this mirror is not yet available.
Read, Wear, Play
E-readers are dropping in prices and incorporate OLEDs in the reading screen. Marvel promises super-fast E-readers and a substantially lower cost to the consumer, so the products in the CES shows will no doubt continue to get cooler and more energy efficient. In the middle, that is OLEDs used as jewelry, a bracelet, a watchband, and a light all-in-one. Leave it to Japan to keep coming up with new OLED uses. Philips unveiled their OLED interactive lighting experience during a Milan Design show. This cool Interactive Light reacts to simple gestures as people move in front of it.
OLED Data Glasses
Ah, using OLEDs like you are a super-secret spy is not science fiction anymore. These interactive data eyeglasses are being developed by students at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. They project an image onto the retina from an OLED micro-display, making the image appear as if it’s a meter in front of the wearer. Unlike other glasses that throw up a static image, these will allow eye-tracking technology so the movement of the eyeball will scroll through information, menus, or move elements about. The glasses are designed to provide information to people wearing them who don’t have their hands free to operate a keyboard or mouse.
Coming in the near future?
In a recent OLED design contest, these a but a few of the winning ideas. On the left is an interactive game for kids that provides multi-sensorial feedbacks stimulating vision, hearing and touch. The middle image is a table lighting application featuring an interesting tri-dimensional representation of the light source. That is more than art pictured on the right. It is a non-conventional solution for time measurement with a clear functional link to traditional hourglass. OLEDs will only continue to become more energy efficient, cheaper, and the usage of OLEDs is only as limited as the creator’s imagination.