31 December 2010

The Light Controller That Works Like an MP3

What do MP3s and light bulbs have in common? Quite a lot, it turns out, when the light bulbs are attached to a LumiSmart Intelligent Lighting Controller. The shoebox-sized solid state controller, developed by Cavet Technologies, costs $2,000, takes 20 minutes to install (with help from an electrician), and cuts electricity consumption by 30% to 40%.
The controller works by cutting off power to light bulbs for nanoseconds at a time--faster than a light or ballast can figure out. It's similar to compression algorithms used in MP3s, where cutting out select bits to decrease file size still maintains the file as a whole.
Cavet's controller is easy to use, too. "You plug it in, turn the circuit breaker panel on, and the configure level of light savings. There are 7 programs on it, optimized for different types of lights," explains David Berg, EVP of engineering at Cavet. The box doesn't discriminate by geographical difference, either--it will work on everything from 100-volt light fixtures in Japan all the way up to the 347-volt systems found in Canada and the U.S.
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The LumiSmart has already launched in 21 countries. Now Cavet is taking the technology to the U.S., where it will presumably find eager customers in big businesses and utilities that need easy retrofit solutions. "We take the existing infrastructure and don't change it. We don't interrupt your business," Berg says.

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