So what are semantic lighting systems? Simply put, they are lighting systems that are aware of what they are illuminating. Using sensors, they analyze the space around them and gather information about nearby objects. This information is then used to adapt the lighting, projecting imagery that can help people to complete tasks more easily.
For example, semantic lighting can be applied at the dinner table, using sensor-driven illumination to enhance the dining experience. If the food is too hot to eat, the system projects a cautionary red ‘hot’ logo onto the dishes. When the food has cooled sufficiently, the system registers the change and projects a green ‘thumbs up’ image on to the dishes, indicating that it is safe to begin eating.
The why and how of Semantic lighting
Semantic lighting has been developed in order to overcome the limitations of conventional illumination. Traditionally, light fixtures have always been static devices that do not react to the environment. However, different people and different tasks require varying amounts of light, so a fixed light setting can often be impractical.
For this reason, Semantic lighting has been developed in three application areas. The first is human-aware lighting, where the light adapts to meet the physical needs of the individual. This technology could be applied in many ways, for example to give support to people with limited eyesight.
The second area is context-aware lighting, where in the quality and quantity of light is adjusted to help carry out a task in a particular environment. For example, a physician may benefit from lighting that makes certain colors stand out, helping them to carry out examinations.
The third area is semantic task-aware lighting, which assists people in carrying out tasks by projecting videos, text, images and other media. For example, if you were trying to fold up a map, the lighting system could project lines upon the paper to show you how to fold it correctly.