It may be hard to believe that among the first LEDs in the marketplace was the HP-35 calculator marketed by the Hewlett-Packard Company in 1972. It is said that the bulk of the cost for that product was the red LED. Nowadays, it’s the blue LED that seems to be everywhere, and its brightness has been a major source of “discussion.” Until Shuji Nakamura buckled down and developed a process for it, the blue light may have been special but as an LED, it was practically impossible. Once it became a possibility, product designers everywhere stepped into the blue light. Then all of a sudden consumers complained that such excessive brightness was causing eyestrain, headaches, disturbed sleep and probably even cold feet.
Beyond its brightness, the LED is said to be ten times more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. It also lasts about 20 years, which means that the age-old question about how many people it takes to change a light bulb could be – none, because the bulbs don’t need to be changed. At least they don’t need to be changed that frequently and who knows, two decades in the digital age is long enough for some entirely new technology to come along. Regardless, it is widely believed that this is the dawning of the age of LEDs replacing incandescent and compact fluorescent for all your lighting needs.
The problem so far is that consumers are reluctant to embrace the LED due to its high cost. Beyond its unnatural brightness, an LED bulb at your neighborhood home improvement store costs around $20. This of course confirms suspicions that home improvement leads to checking account deterioration. But costs are coming down and corporations with 24/7 operations are discovering that LEDs can cut their energy bills. Plus rumors are that incandescent bulbs will be phased out. Bright future everyone.
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