emerging tech roundup

About a year and half ago I posted a brief roundup of emerging lighting tech companies.  Here we go again…

I recently received the conference program for the upcoming 2014 Strategies in Light, to be held this February in Silicon Valley.  SIL is a fantastic conference that really focuses on cutting edge tech for the lighting industry…a brewing pot of R+D and investors (I spoke at both the 2013 SIL conference in Silicon Valley and the 2013 SIL Europe conference in Munich).  In flipping through the program, I saw a few interesting tech companies that I would like to point out:

LPFK Laser & Electronics AG

LPFK will be presenting a production technique called “laser direct structuring” (LDS).  In looking at LPFK’s website, LDS is a technique where a special polymer is laser etched; this laser etching changes the polymer into a state that is receptive to metal plating.  In this fashion, 3D parts molded from the special polymer can have electrical traces precisely plated right onto the part.  LPFK has a section on small scale LDS prototyping for development trials (see link here) with a short video that nicely summarizes the process.  Interesting concept, but sounds like a process full of expensive, priority compounds that probably aren’t exceptionally “green.”  Yet still, I’m always interested in ways to eliminate printed circuit boards.

Advanced Lighting Technologies (ALT Inc.)

An R+D/IP group that is developing driver tech. Sounds very similar to what OnChip is doing.

ALT’s LED driver (power supply) technology reduces the cost and increases the lifetime of LED lamps by eliminating expensive, unreliable parts such as coils, electrolytic capacitors and EMI filters. Our designs enable high efficiency and long life of over 5 years.

SUNN Light

A very early stage startup from Cornell.  Most of their story is the typical LED shtick, but they are trying to exploit daily cycles of light, which is a nice focus area in the world of smart lights/smart controls.  With the right light engine, this could be very interesting:  However, they don’t seem to differentiate b/t actual control of circadian rhythms (controlling ~460nm blue wavelengths), versus superficial color control.  And their SIL write-up now describes them as “focusing solely on software” — which probably means these kids realized that consumer lighting is just a completely miserable market channel to target.


QuarkStar has some very brilliant people, such as Louis Lerman, Brent York, and Bob Steele, focusing on developing IP around new forms of optics.  They don’t have anything public yet…but a quick search through online patents shows they are messing around with light guides for mixing and extraction.

PolyOne Corp.

PolyOne is a large plastics company, not a tech startup.  But it is interesting to see that they are pitching various plastic polymers to reduce cost, reduce complexity, and improve “sustainability” for lighting assembles.