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Students Compete in Smart Lighting Challenge

Photonics.com
Apr 2011
BOSTON, April 6, 2011 — Engineering and business students from Boston University and two other area colleges will compete in an April 9 contest to devise product strategy for an emerging lighting technology being developed at BU. A panel of judges drawn largely from industry will decide who gets the prize money.

The Smart Lighting Challenge will pit teams of engineering, management, international relations and science students against each other to sell potential investors on technology created at the NSF Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center. Researchers at BU and Smart Lighting partner institutions are developing LEDs that can function as light sources, communications media, and even biological or chemical sensors.

This innovative controllable lighting technology, which leverages all of the capabilities of solid-state lighting, could transform our use of light. Besides providing comfortable illumination, these LEDs can transmit information between enabled devices such as computers and thermostats without a perceptible change in room light, and with greater speed, security and energy efficiency than current radio-wave technology. Built-in optical sensors could warn of environmental hazards.

But, as with all new technology, it requires capital investment to break into the marketplace, and therein lies the Smart Lighting Challenge.

Nine teams — seven from BU and one each from Tufts University and Babson College — are made up of undergraduate and graduate students. Each team will pitch its ideas to the panel of judges as if it were presenting them to potential investors. The judges will include executives from Chevron, Osram Sylvania, Philips Color Kinetics and other companies, as well as representatives from the center. The winning team will get a $1000 cash prize; second- and third-place finishers also will receive cash awards.

The competition — conceived and run by students in the BU Energy Club — will take place on April 9 at 5 p.m. at the Boston University School of Management, 595 Commonwealth Ave. The public is invited.

For more information, visit: www.bu.edu/smartlighting


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