Light Tape: bending light... and other applications
By Jeff Salton
June 30, 2009
Think of a light bulb you can wrap around your finger or roll-out to create a display that would rival the Griswalds' efforts in Christmas Vacation. Light Tape is an extremely flexible lighting strip that has seemingly more applications than LED or neon lighting systems. Thinner than a credit card, and with a bend radius of 2mm, Light Tape can go just about anywhere – indoors and outdoors. It’s even wearable.
Light Tape’s manufacturers, Electro-LuminX, state the product contains no glass, mercury or gas, generates very little heat, and has operational costs 1/6 that of its nearest LED competitor (consuming less than .5W per linear foot). Its studies suggest that fiber optics cost eight times more, neon costs 20X and fluorescent costs more than 21X that of Light Tape.
Light tape gets its name from the fact that is a light and functions and looks like tape. It can be fastened to any surface, is durable and doesn’t require maintenance. The amount of light is constant across the whole length of the tape.
How it works
Light Tape uses electroluminescence (EL) as its light source. ELs generate light by the electrically stimulating light emitting phosphors, similar to how plasma televisions are backlit. In this case, the light emitting phosphors are located between two electrically conductive plates. Applying an alternating current (AC) activates the system producing light. At least one of the electrodes consists of a light transmissive conductive material allowing the light to escape.
Light Tape is available in different widths and color and can be joined to form basically any length. A single specially made ‘Smart Driver’ ballast powers up 300ft of Light Tape, different voltages and frequencies provide a range of colors and brightness (it’s dimmable, too).
The manufacturers say Light Tape is visible for up to five miles and penetrates smoke, fog, snow, and haze.
Light Tape is available in widths of 0.25 to 6 inches, and lengths of up to 300 feet. Panels are also available in widths up to 24 inches.
For indoor applications, Light Tape can be mounted with double-sided tape or Velcro. It operates in the temperature range -40°C to 65°C.
See the Light Tape video demo here.