Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A New Way to Light Your Desk

As it stands now, incandescent light bulbs are dinosaurs. Long ago, we realized that they wasted too much energy and we found cost-efficient alternatives that conserve both money and electricity. For all but specialized purposes, those are gradually becoming extinct, and not a moment too soon.

However, the popular alternative hasn't captured our hearts the way we'd expect. While the compact fluorescent bulb uses less energy and lasts longer, we're still hesitant to call it the better bulb. It's hard to love that awkward spiral shape. The light quality can be inconsistent from bulb to bulb, with some models suffering from a flicker that can be annoying even when your eyes don't register it. While developments have been made to improve the quality, we're simple creatures that prefer natural light, which incandescents have always done a better job replicating. Add to that the uncomfortable traces of mercury inside every CFL and the brief delay before they turn on, and there is something lacking in the technology.

So while CFLs continue their valiant effort to earn our love, LED technology is swooping in and stand to become a viable new option. LEDs have been around for a while, but have always been resigned to specialty functions since individual bulbs are weaker and can't shine light in all directions. That's beginning to change, since the small bulbs can be combined into an array that can shine in all directions while using less energy and lasting much longer than even CFLs, which themselves can last eight times longer than incandescents. Best of all, LED lights don't flicker and the light quality already surpasses florescents.


LED bulbs in products such as flashlights have been around for years, and standard light bulb equivalents are now available. It's also emerging in the office world with products like 3M's new task lights. These use anywhere from 12 to 42 lights in their array (depending on the model), have an adjustable head and are polarized to reduce glare. 

 Glare Difference With 3M Task Lights

In all but the most basic model, lights can be brightened and dimmed (another shortcoming of florescents). In a place like the desk where concentration is so important, why have anything but reliable, flexible and quality light shining it?

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