LEDs could be used in football stadium overhaul


One of Europe’s top football grounds has been earmarked for some radical changes to improve atmosphere; with LED lamps heavily involved in the plans.

For years fans and officials at Manchester United have complained that the all important match day atmosphere at Old Trafford has been lost as the ground has grown bigger over the years and now a team of experts, who were behind the design of the new Wembley Stadium, have been consulted on what could possibly be done to improve things.

The doubling in size of the capacity, along with the requirement for the stadium to be all-seated, following the Taylor Report of 1989, has meant that many fans feel that something is now lacking at an arena once called the “theatre of dreams.”

One of the ideas put forward by Populous is to use huge double-sided LED screens inside the ground to keep fans updated with team news, scores and tactical changes, while LED lighting woven into the pitch could be used to trace the movement of the players for everyone to see.

“It’s about bringing the information that you get at home into a three-dimensional arena,” explained architect and company owner Christopher Lee, who has designed 30 stadia around the world.

The sound cloud and other suggested modifications were ‘very feasible’, he said, adding: “Nothing we’re talking about here is prohibitively expensive.”

Some of the other more radical suggestions include a “Fan Zone” in the roof of the stadium, where supporters gather before and after the game, along with a “sound cloud,” which is basically a mesh that hangs across the whole stadium and keeps the atmosphere and noise bottled up.

To see the lights: Manchester city council to consider full LED replacement

If the thought of replacing all of the lights in your home with LED bulbs seems like a huge challenge; spare a thought for those at Manchester City Council.

They are considering swapping all of their 56,000 lamps for energy-efficient LED lanterns.

Town hall bosses in the city are discussing a £32 million overhaul in the way that the city is illuminated at night - and using LEDs is a serious consideration.

It’s thought that the changes, which would be rolled out over a three year period, could slash the council’s energy bills by almost 70%.

But the decision isn’t purely about saving money.

A report going before councillors next week claims that there have been ‘significant’ advances in technology since 2004 – with one of the key benefits being that they emit light that is much more similar to natural daylight.

The report also goes on to claim: “Given the projected increases in energy costs and these technological advances, it has become viable to investigate the installation of LED lanterns across all of Manchester, which would deliver various long-term benefits to the city. There will be significantly less glare, less upward light pollution and less light interference into people’s homes.”

The proposal once again highlights the long-term benefits of switching to LED bulbs, as although the initial outlay would be high and involve council borrowing – the bill would be paid off within a 17 year time-scale and the city’s carbon footprint would be significantly reduced over many decades.

5 things you wanted to know about Li-Fi but were afraid to ask


Just when you thought there wasn’t a corner of the earth not covered by Wi-Fi, it seems an exciting alternative is waiting in the wings; ready to offer a faster and more efficient service at the flick of a switch.

Light-based wireless communication (Li-Fi) is a method of internet connectivity that doesn’t use cables or radio waves – it uses the flickering light from a special LED to transmit data just like any other Wi-Fi adapter would.

Not heard of it? Well don’t worry, you’re not alone.

But if scientists are to be believed this technology is not light years away – it’s much closer than that and could be in every home within a decade.

1. What does Li-Fi stand for?

Its official name is Light-based wireless communication, though this has now been adapted to Light Fidelity, which has since been abbreviated to the much catchier Li-Fi.

2. How does it work?

The idea behind Li-Fi is almost identical to Wi-Fi technology. But instead of throwing out radio waves in all directions from a router, it sends light shooting out to connect to your smartphone, laptop, or other devices via specially adapted LED lamps. The lights flicker at high speed (which is un-noticeable to the human eye), sending data around the building. Effectively Li-Fi uses light in the same way that fiber optics do - but instead of maintaining it through thin strands, it allows the light to spread out in all directions so multiple devices are able to connect. Existing LED light bulbs can easily be converted to transmit Li-Fi signals with a single microchip.

3. What speeds could I hope to achieve?

Li-Fi has the potential to be faster than Wi-Fi connections, a lot faster. In recent tests UK scientists reported transmission speeds of 10Gbit/s using this new technology – “more than 250 times faster than the so called ‘superfast’ broadband that is currently offered.

4. What are the benefits?

The obvious advantage is the incredible speeds available to users. On recent evidence, it would be possible to download an HD film in 30 seconds using Li-Fi. It also offers greater privacy. Li-Fi can only work when your device is able to detect the light being emitted by the router; meaning you have to be in the same room that the light is being emitted. Anyone in the close vicinity (such as outside the building) will not be able to use, or “piggyback” your connection.

5. Are there any drawbacks?

The most obvious disadvantage of Li-Fi is that in order for your devices to connect; they must be in direct line of site of the LED bulb. In other words – if the light is not on, or your computer is in another room, then you won’t be connected.  But don’t worry if you like to use your tablet in bed after dark. Bulbs could be dimmed to the point that they were not visible to humans and yet still functional.

Innovation in lighting changing the way we see our surroundings

For years we have used lighting to brighten up or enhance our everyday lives. From illuminating Christmas trees to making dog shaped shadows on the wall with our hands.

But advances in lighting technology are now allowing us to do more than was ever possible in the past.

Lighting is now seen by many as a viable option when it comes to transforming and utilising urban spaces, and some recent inventions have highlighted this fascinating way of thinking.

In a trend that’s become known as “Bound by Light,” designers are exploring the use of light as a substitute for physical boundaries in an effort to change the way people perceive their surroundings.

These solutions work to create new areas on demand and create flexible environments which can accommodate different uses and be redefined accordingly.

Read the full article here on PSFK:

Shoot to kill: Apple puts focus on new iPhone camera with LED flash


Apple has announced their latest generation iPhone and technology enthusiasts will be eager to find out just what the new handset has to offer.

At first glass it may appear that little has changed on the outside, but on closer inspection it’s evident that much effort has gone into Apple’s latest release.

One of the most talked about features is the new camera – particularly the use of a new LED flash system

It’s hard to deny that Apple has made vast improvements to their camera compared to previous models, largely due to stiff competition from the likes of Samsung and Nokia - who have made huge strides in terms of photographic technology.

So what’s new?

The iPhone 5S camera features a larger image sensor, which is now 15% bigger than previous models and emphasises Apple’s beliefs that bigger pixels are better than more pixels. It also features a larger f/2.2 aperture.

The hope is that the increase in sensor and aperture size will help the device cope with low-light situations.

Larger sensors typically mean low-light sensitivity is improved and you’ll be able to take better pictures with less illumination – ideal for indoor shots and night-time scenes.

Should you need more light you can always rely on the phone’s new “True Tone” dual-LED flash.

With different colour temperatures on each LED this is a real bonus for low-light photographers who dread the washed-out look and unnatural colour balance that a typical flash offers.

The introduction of image stabilization is good news for those who don’t have the steadiest of hands, and it’s claimed that the speedy new A7 chip will yields autofocus that’s twice as fast.

Budding movie directors will welcome the news that the iPhone 5S can capture 720p HD at 120 frames per second and the handset also features a new “slo-mo” feature that can slow footage down to a 120 frames-per-second crawl.

What, where and when?

With prices starting at a steeper than expected £549, Apple has put a lot of faith in this new handset.

The 5S hits the shelves at the end of September – and as ever with new Apple products, demand is likely to be high. If you’re interested, you can watch the full unveiling on their website here.