Smart lighting open platform initiative: made-in-Germany

March 29, 2017 // By Julien Happich
Although LED dimming and color tuning are a hot topic, today, individually adjustable lighting applications are rather the exception than the rule. No matter the time of day or season, whether inside or outside, installed luminaires usually allow only one continuous brightness level or lighting color to be set.

Initiated by Infineon Technologies AG and three research partners, Bernitz Electronics GmbH, the Deggendorf Institute of Technology, and the Technische Universität Dresden, the three-year OpenLicht research project aims to democratize access to smart lighting by lowering the technical barrier to adoption.

Funded to around 4.5 million Euros, of which 63% coming from the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) (as part of its program “Optical Technologies – Made in Germany”), the project aims to create an open development platform for smart lights and lighting systems that can be used intuitively.

The partners envisage the self-learning networking of light sources with sensor data in the network, combined with the profiles of individual users.

In a smart home, for instance, one could individually adjust the light settings (such as brightness, warmer or colder light, etc.) for every single light source and for every single room in the house – adapted to the particular time of the day.

Due to self-learning components, brightness and light color will automatically adapt to current temperature and weather data and the personal preferences.

The four project partners expect the open source platform to help others develop creative light solutions faster and more cost effectively than today, even for small-scale production and single installations. The idea is to facilitate the creative use of light for everyone, from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to design studios, interior designers, artists, and electronics hobbyists.

In particular, the OpenLicht project is exploring three particular application scenarios: “professional lighting”, for the industrial users target group, “mood lighting”, for the home, and “light modeling” for designers, architects, artists, and makers.

By project end (in August 2019), the partners will present one demo for each of these scenarios.

The four research partners will focus on designing complex, electronically-controlled lighting systems that can be the most open and user-friendly. The open source platform will consist of hardware and software on one hand, and a smart,