Lighting Lab

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The lighting research program at the University of Sydney concentrates on forward-looking applications of light, to provide leading ideas on how the characteristics of future technologies can be leveraged to maximize benefit to human users of light. The researchers in the lab question the status quo of lighting design practice to develop innovative, sometimes fundamentally new, ways of using lighting in architectural spaces. Experiments investigate the impacts of these applications on both the experience of human users of architecture and energy consumption.

A variety of projects revolve around three research focus areas: the spectrum of illumination, the spatial distribution of light, and user control of lighting.

Impact of Spectrum

The spectral output of a light source has profound impact on both the colour quality and energy efficiency of the resulting illumination. Traditionally, white light has been used to illuminate objects of all colours, due to limitations of incumbent technologies. Research in the lab is investigating a radical new approach to lighting that could substantially reduce the energy wasted by absorption.

Spatial Distribution of Light

Existing lighting standards and practices are based on the limited spatial patterns in which older technologies emit light. Lighting products utilizing newer technologies can emit virtually any pattern of light throughout architectural spaces, but fundamental research is needed to determine how to best capitalize on this. Projects in the lab are investigating the relationships between the spatial distribution of light and visual interest, as well as the appearance of the size of architectural spaces.

Control of Lighting

Many new lighting technologies are controlled by digital signals and can offer customization of a wide range of attributes (e.g. colour, brightness, spatial distribution, etca but research is needed to understand how typical users conceive of light properties and the variables that effect their ability to successfully interact with illumination. Current research in the laboratory investigates the effect of control resolution (i.e. the smallest change possible) on user efficacy, accuracy, and satisfaction, as well as energy consumption.