Lesser known than their more commercially developed LED counterparts, OLEDs generate broad-spectrum light that is far closer to the light cast by incandescent light bulbs than the harsh whiteness associated with LEDs. An OLED is a sandwich made up of an organic material layered between two electrodes, and these layers are deposited (they can be printed with an ink-ket) onto a transparent substrate. The many advantages of OLED technology — better quality of light, potentially lower cost than LED if mass produced, cool temperatures, higher response times if used for displays versus backlit LCD screens — must be balanced against the comparatively shorter lifespan and changing color balance over time, problems that are being addressed by researchers. Advances in OLED engineering hold great potential for the technology not only for touch-screens (where they are already being used in some smartphones), but for ambient lighting as well. A new design competition co-sponsored by Corning Inc. and the OLEDWorks company, is seeking innovative lighting designs incorporating today's OLED technology, and is offering $10,000 cash awards as well as opportunities to develop prototypes for winning ideas.
Administered by NineSigma, an "open innovation" firm that gathers internal and external input to foster advances in industry, the "Lighting without a Bulb" competition is seeking design proposals for OLED lighting applications that emphasize its advantages over other types of lighting, including "thin form factors, low weight lighting elements, cool to touch, and high light quality."
From the call for entries: "This contest invites designs for luminaires and other lighting applications that could benefit from OLED technology, including architecture, building materials, and furniture. The designs may target a variety of market segments, including, but not limited to, hospitality, retail, transportation, commercial, and residential. Desk lamp designs are not of interest for this design competition."
The competition Website states that as many as five winners will be awarded cash prizes of US $10,000 each. "Post-awards, the winners might have the chance to prototype ideas with the help of components supplied by OLEDWorks and Corning."
To apply, you need to fill out the application form and submit it by 5 PM on June 30, 2016. The submission should include PDF or JPG illustrations of your design concept, and video presentations are encouraged.
The Website requests:
- A description of proposed design that also explains how you meet the design evaluation criteria
- A description of what is necessary to fabricate a prototype
- A description about you (or your team) and related experience
For questions about completing your submission, there is email assistance provided by NineSigma at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To apply, visit the "Lighting Without a Bulb" Website for full details and application materials.