The Santa Barbara area is emerging as a hub for light-emitting diode technology, from practical lighting designs on the market now to the cutting-edge laser technology of tomorrow.
LEDs are taking hold in the lighting industry and have the potential to use 15 times less energy than incandescent bulbs. At the steel-in-the-ground level, Carpinteria-based architectural lighting firm Bega US has plans to roll out dozens of additions to its energy-efficient offerings in coming months, making LED lights an option for nearly any outdoor lighting design.
At the same time, University of California, Santa Barbara, researchers are pushing LED technology forward. Shuji Nakamura, the man who invented the blue and white LEDs used in products sold by Bega and others, has spun off Kaai, a new laser-diode company that could put movie-quality projectors in mobile phones and help bring advanced blood testing to the developing world.