LEDs and Sensors: The Future for our Cities
LEDs are known for being the future of lighting. They save money, save the planet, and save you time as they do not have to be replaced as much, making them an obvious choice when considering new bulbs. However, with new technological advances in other areas, could LEDs become more than just simple bulbs?
One idea that has emerged in recent years is setting up sensors along with LEDs in lampposts. By using the existing network infrastructure, information could be gathered and processed directly from the street lights and could be made accessible to the public. The range of information they could gather is vast, from weather, to traffic information, to video technologies that could help reduce crime.
Motion Sensors saving money?
A potential use that could save people money would be fitting motion sensors into the lights. This would save energy as the lights would not be running if there is no one around to use them, which is made possible by the easy dimming qualities of LED lights. Some people have expressed concerns, saying that this could increase crime as people could trick the lights into dimming by standing still. However, experts have stated that adding a body heat sensor may be a possible solution as it would register if someone was trying to hide and undim the lights.
Theoretical ideas are okay but do they work in real life? According to these two examples, the answer seems to be yes.
Helsinki in Finland is currently capitalising on the dimming quality of LEDs with an 86,000 luminaries network. This controls the amount of light emitted depending on the surrounding natural light, highly useful as the light levels change season to season and are very unpredictable on this latitude. The LEDs versatility is their strength in this case. Chicago in the United States also have advanced LED technology installed in some street lights and have made the information available to the public, academic and private sectors, meaning practically everyone can see this technology in practice and can begin using the information. This allows for the people like app developers to create new apps that can improve people’s everyday lives, such as live traffic updates, while also allowing for research opportunities on a scale that was previously unimaginable. Once these case studies are complete, it might be possible that this technology is rolled out across towns and cities.
The possibilities for this technology appear endless, which begs the question, where will it go next?
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