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German researchers develop low-glare LEDs for streetlighting

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's Light Technology Institute, in Germany, have created a low-power LED array that offers improved efficiency and reduced glare in streetlighting applications, according to New Atlas. Interconnected wiring enables the array to stay lit even if individual diodes fail, allowing for a larger number of LEDs within a circuit and a lower power threshold of 20 volts. Running cooler and producing less glare than traditional high-performance LEDs, the array is being incorporated in fixtures by Gratz Luminance, a lighting products manufacturer in Weinsberg, Germany.

Dive Insight

Alien abductions. Prison yard search lights. Hollywood film crews. Those are just a few of the metaphors Brooklyn, N.Y., residents used to complain to The New York Times about glare created from LED streetlights. Sure, LEDs save energy and are better for the environment than high intensity discharge lamps and their incandescent ancestors, but higher levels of luminosity — particularly in residential settings — has been anything but aesthetically pleasing.

As New York and other global metros look to upgrade street-lighting systems, researchers are developing LED units that are a little easier on the eyes. (New York City looks to complete the replacement of 250,000 bulbs this year.) The KIT innovation is based on circuitry: By using interconnected wiring, the array can be powered by lower voltages to substantially reduce glare. Interconnected wiring also results in cooler lighting, and the array won’t completely blackout as individual diodes fail — think parallel versus series wiring.

Gratz Luminance has said it plans to have commercially available bulbs by the end of 2017. That's if Brooklynites can wait that long.

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