Intelligent LED Systems are lighting the way to a bright, exciting future
As Spring arrives in North America — once again restarting the formidable agricultural and horticultural portion of our nation’s economy – I can’t help but ponder the ways technology has impacted the ag business: From GPS-guided tractors that enable more efficient fertilization, irrigation, pesticide application, and harvests; to distributed soil and other sensor networks that positively impact these same variables at the terrestrial level; to robotic milking stations so smart they test milk quality in real time, check a cow’s vitals to detect illness and infections, and can even ‘sense’ which cow is being milked, dispensing a specific formulation and ration of feed.
And then there’s the technology we’ve been exploring with some of our customers here at Cascade Systems Technology that are increasingly allowing many subsegments of the ag business to extend – or even untether from — the outdoor growing season: LEDs.
Fairly amazing in their own right — given innate advantages like energy efficiency, instantaneous infinitely variable output (both intensity and color), cooler operating temperatures, among others – LEDs become even more powerful allies when paired with other fast-developing technologies such as Cloud-connected AI, edge sensors, video analytics, and ever more sophisticated software controls.
Such combinations are allowing green- and hot-house growers of everything from leafy lettuce to cannabis to design and deploy sensor- and AI- enabled LED light systems that detect the presence and size of flower buds, plant height, leaf growth, color, and soil conditions – constantly adjusting timing, light levels, and frequency to create the most optimum environment for the plants in question.
These same systems can also:
- influence specific qualities in the plants themselves (e.g. superior tasting tomatoes, ideal THC levels in legal marijuana, etc.);
- enable ‘vertical’ farming in space-constrained urban gardens, optimizing nutritional value;
- and provide indoor growers with additional control of temperature, humidity, disease, pests, and more – all the while mimicking natural outdoor growing seasons.
Of course, agriculture and horticulture are just two of many industry sectors where, shall we call them, “intelligent LED systems” are affecting revolutionary change. Also consider their impact on:
Healthcare – Putting aside the countless LEDs we see flashing at us from equipment in a hospital room, exam room, or ER – or those that enhance and/or pinpoint lighting in surgical, orthodontic, and diagnostics procedures — did you know ever smart LED systems are being used to fight acne, heal wounds, and perform pre-emptive strikes on skin cells prone to cancer? To safely warm and fight jaundice in premature babies? To more precisely monitor glucose levels, blood oxygen, and other vitals?
Transportation – In addition to the impact that ordinary LEDs have had inside airplane cockpits, locomotives, and automotive dashboards and exterior lighting assemblies (just think of how futuristic the lowly brake light has become over the last four or five years) – LEDs managed or informed by AI, sensors, and cloud-connectivity are finding their way into and enhancing airports, rail stations, roadways, and even parking applications. One application I read about featured an IOT-equipped LED streetlamp that can instantaneously detect a nearby car accident, automatically triggering a brighter output, video recording of the scene for future analysis, and an alert to local authorities. How cool is that?
Entertainment – In a previous blog, I touched on lighting advances on next-gen movie sets, but of course, advances in lighting technologies – LEDs included — are revolutionizing theaters, museums, dance clubs, movie theaters, restaurants, among other entertainment venues. A prime example is sports arenas, where a colleague of mine has been involved with bringing wirelessly controlled LEDs into stadiums and hockey rinks: In addition to lowering energy bills and enabling performance monitoring, diagnostics, and preventive maintenance — these enabled LEDs will be able to create lighting effects for halftime shows, corporate sponsors’ marketing promotions, and color-coded celebrations when teams put points on the board. (I imagine Portland’s Moda Center awash with “red” light to when the Trail Blazers bring home a win.)
In short – just as smarter and web-enabled electronics have, as a whole, have found their way into nearly every device, machine, or piece of equipment in our personal, work, and public lives – LEDs and enabled LEDs are lighting the way to all kinds of amazing, future possibilities.*
I can’t wait to see where they’ll show up, and what they’ll make possible, next!
Need help integrating LED technology into your product? Cascade Systems Technology offers a wide and ever more advanced range of surface mount technology (SMT) techniques, approaches, and advantages along with Box Build/Board rework capabilities. We are ISO 9001 & UL-796 certified, ITAR registered and achieve IPC A-610 industry quality standard.
I’d love to hear your idea, tackle your toughest challenges, and bring your idea to life! Contact me to discuss the possibilities, CST’s capabilities, or initiate a quote.
– Shantanu R. Gupta,
CEO, Cascade Systems Technology
* “Almost half of all light sources in the world were LEDs in 2019” and it is projected that by 2030, some 87 percent of all light sources will be LEDs” — achieving a global market size of “about 70 billion U.S. dollars in 2019” which is then “expected to grow to almost 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2030.” (Statisa)