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Lighting initiative aims for on-body healthcare apps

Posted: 19 Mar 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LED  lighting  optoelectronics  OLED 

Lighting and flexible electronics companies and institutes PLACE-it (Platform for Large Area Conformable Electronics by InTegration) initiative aims to realise an industrial platform for thin, lightweight and flexible optoelectronics systems that will not only open new dimensions in product design, but will also create unique opportunities for on-body applications in healthcare and wellness. The companies and institutes including Philips, Holst Centre/TNO, IMEC, Freudenberg and TU Berlin have joined forces to co-develop the route to integrate light into people's surroundings be it ceilings, walls, floors, furniture, soft furnishings, and even garments.

Philips explores opportunities to integrate for light therapy into the baby's blanket.

PLACE-it looks beyond the bulb for lighting applications, optimally exploiting the energy-efficient and small form-factor characteristics of new lighting technologies like LEDs and OLEDs. Imagine a lamp that is not fixed to the ceiling, but can instead be designed in any shape, or even blended into the surroundings, or curtains that emit light to mimic natural daylight conditions. Imagine illuminating jackets for children to safeguard them as they cycle home from school and even bandages that shine light on the body to treat skin diseases. These are just some of the examples of products that could become reality in the near future.

"Until now, large area electronics R&D has been carried out independently for flexible, elastic and fabric-based technologies," says Liesbeth van Pieterson, senior scientist at Philips Research and project leader of PLACE-it. "In the PLACE-it project, foil, elastic and fabric substrate technologies will be systematically co-developed with the common goal of heterogeneous integration."

Holst Centre develops flexible OLED on transparent substrates.

PLACE-it received Rs.68.80 crore ($14.9 million) funding by the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme. The project aims to realise an industrial platform for lightweight, thin and flexible optoelectronics systems within three and a half years and will:
• Develop an integration platform of foil, elastic and fabric optoelectronic technologies;
• Create foil, elastic and fabric-based devices for light emission, electronics and sensing;
• Formulate industry design guidelines for light-emitting flexible surfaces and textiles;
• Build demonstrators of compelling beyond-the-bulb applications.

PLACE-it will share the outcome of the project with third parties and start the dialogue with designers, architects, governments, industry and other stakeholders to discuss the future of comfortable ambient lighting and the requirements/conditions for an industrial platform.

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