LEDs are cool, from their use in our homes as standard lights to over the top displays of vibrant colors, the kinds of things that we can do with them is fascinating. Before talking about how cool they are, though, you should know that even if you don't know it,m there are LEDs present in your life that you might never notice. They are the indicator lights in your electronic devices, advertising billboards, brake lights, in TVs, and now they can even be in the light bulbs that we have in our houses.
There are so many different benefits to using LED lights in your households as opposed to using traditional light bulbs. LED lighting's average lifespan is over 20x that of the incandescent bulb while also only needing 1/6th wattage in order to keep it running. The big downside of LED lighting is how much they cost. If you were to pay $1 for an incandescent bulb, you might expect to purchase an LED for up to $8. This is a downside because on paper this seems like an obvious choice. Why would you want to purchase a light for that much more than an incandescent bulb? You need to know that if the LED is going to last twenty times as long, then you're going to be saving with LEDs in the long run. Using the same pricing premise above, it would mean you could save over $150 over the space of 23 years per bulb.
It's not just pricing and longevity of life that you are paying for too, as LED lights are also better for our environment. Both incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs have chemicals, like mercury, that have a chance of getting out if the bulb breaks, but also means that they are non recyclable and have to be disposed of specially. One final fact about LED lights is that unlike other lighting where a lot of the energy is released as heat as well as light, LEDs don't release excess heat. This means not only are they being more efficient with the energy that they're using, but that they will stay relatively cool to the touch even after excessive use.
What is the absolute best about LEDs though is the wide variety of different things that you are able to do with them. The most obvious thing that you can do with LEDs is to use them as a source of light in your home or place of work. There are plenty of different places that will sell you them, like hardware stores or you can order them online from vendors like LightRabbit or Amazon. If you don't just want regular lights, then there are even LED lights that you can control through the use of your smartphone or laptop, a great example of this being sold commercially nowadays is Philips Hue. Swapping out your lights is probably one of the simplest things you can do with LEDs though, as there are plenty of fun ways to use LEDs in your life.
ADAlight demo from adafruit industries on Vimeo.
You can look around the Internet and find all kinds of interesting projects to undertake using things like LED strips. You can create a close on Philips Ambilight for almost any display using a mix of LED strips and an Arduino. This allows you to have matching light from your display bleed through, giving an interesting effect while watching movies or music videos. Not only does it look cool, but a setup like this could reduce the amount of strain you put on your eye. You can find plenty of tutorials for setting up something like this too. It's probably best to arm yourself with some technical know how before you tackle a project like this too—you want to end up with the best product.
If practical isn't your thing and you just want something to put up that just looks great, then plenty of people are doing that too. Hackaday user Beamsir used LEDs to recreate the Flux Capacitor from the famous Back to the Future series. While you can't expect to be traveling in time, this project and many others involving LED lights can be used in your home or workplace to add a bit of flair that might be difficult to add otherwise. Maybe now is just the right time to find a new project to set for yourself when you're not busy.
What do you think of these LED projects? Are you interested in creating some kind of LED creation, whether it be for a purpose or just to look really cool? Are you more interested in LEDs in general after finding out all they have to offer?