EU funds hunt for invisible light switch

THE EUROPEAN Union has announced that it is funding the hunt for ‘an invisible light switch’.

The move follows a growing belief among lighting engineers and forecasters that the light switch will become increasingly outdated in a world of connected, smart lighting.

The goal of the taxpayer-funded project is to eliminate the need for any switches for lighting by combining presence detection and smart light control.

The team tasked with ridding the world of light switches includes engineers from Osram and scientists from the University of Verona and the Italian Institute of Technology.

Leading the group is Doctor Fabio Galasso, head of the computer vision R&D activities at Osram, Professor Marco Cristani, who heads the department of vision, processing and sound at the University of Verona, and Doctor Alessio Del Bue, head of the department of visual geometry and modelling of IIT. The project members target two main goals: the understanding of the light and scene structure in a space as well as the understanding of the human factor in an illuminated scene.

The IIT is developing what it is calling a ‘light visibility map’, showing where in a scene luminaires are visible, while the University of Verona is focusing on how people perceive a space.

The idea is that each person in a home or office perceives the entire space as ‘all lit’, while lights, which are not visible by the person, are switched off by the system.

The project reflects the ‘growing demands for office lighting that offers maximum comfort and sense of security for users while granting large savings in energy consumption’, Osram said in a statement.

Bringing the goal of the project – the invisible light switch – into applications, ‘may be possible by 2019’. 


  • ‘Is the light switch dead?’ Is the theme of one of the many discussions and presentations on smart lighting at LuxLive 2017 in London on Wednesday 15 November and Thursday 16 November 2017. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.



Comments 7

We got all modern and replaced our light switches with remotes as part of an upgrade to solar powered lighting. BAD idea. You can never find the stupid things. Its worst when you are fumbling around in the dark half asleep. Eventually we stuck then on the wall where the light switches used to be so that we could find them. As for cell phone controlled lights ;FORGET IT. Now I have to find my phone, and my glasses , unlock it, find the app to switch a light on. This will fall into the same catagory as 99 % of Windows 10 features and automatic parking on modern Mercedes cars. Expensive gimics that never get used. Rather spend money on solving real problems.

Making "the light switch" invisible is a poor choice, since at the very least it will assure a large stained spot on the wall. Certainly there are far more worthwhile things to be developed. In fact, it is a challenge to think of a less useful concept for development.

Please note that the edit window allows a person to write correctly, using paragraphs and spaces to properly lay out ideas. However, paragraphs and line skips do not appear in the comment itself. Is this also someone's smart idea? Folks at Lux Review, if you're not going to publish comments the way they are written, don't let us write them differently!

It exists: The Clapper. Now that somebody finally said it, let's look at a couple of things that are wrong about getting rid of switches: *You have a guest in your house. You have to explain to them -- and they have to remember -- anything more complicated than what you get with The Clapper *I've been working on a home where lighting control in an area was changed from five switches behind a cover plate to three switches behind a cover plate. The change was made in a half hour. The new switch arrangement was obvious, and pushing on the switches revealed the new programming to anyone of any age *The above solution was an immediate and truly international solution: it did not require ANY use of language to communicate the new "programming." Multiple people who do not share the same language can all learn the new setup at the same time by using their optical wetware interfaces: their eyeballs. Just try to beat the learning time of that setup! *With regard to the question of whether we should create the invisible switch, note that an educated team is developing it. Their education prejudices them to believe that it's a good idea. Can you imagine a highly educated team coming up with something dead simple?

Like it or not, this is most likely where switches are going. The leading edge of technology always seems obscured and as we warm up to it, the inherent problems get solutions. As an older engineer I teach my younger students, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". I'm glad some are pushing the envelope, but not me.

This is outrageous . Tax payers money should not be spent on research for industry ...industry should be paying .

Why? What is wrong with a visible light switch?Cheap and simple to operate and replace. It does what it needs to do. If it's invisible then it's going to have complicated Electronics and software that will go wrong at some stage and cost a lot to fix. Can't help but wonder if the EU should be spending this money on reducing climate change or curing world hunger etc etc...

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