Global Challenge Uncovers Intelligent Lighting Solutions for the Home

Published Oct-17-16

Breakthrough:
An innovative crib lighting app to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome was one of three winners of an open innovation challenge for connected lighting ideas for the home.

Company:
Make Magazine, United States

The Story:

Global Challenge Uncovers Intelligent Lighting Solutions for the Home An individual's imagination is truly a powerful thing. But why settle for one person's ideas and flights of fancy when you can bring together the imaginations of lots of inventive and creative minds to think of solutions for the same challenges. All things being equal it increases the odds of finding the right kind of innovative way forward.

Connected Lighting Ideas Required

Open innovation contests are superb vehicles for delivering novel solutions, which is why many companies are turning to members of the crowd to see what they can come up with. May 2016 saw the launch of a global challenge for connected lighting ideas for the home.

The future of domestic lighting isn't just about illumination, said Make, an American magazine. So it partnered with GE and Hackstar.io to launch the Lights for Life Challenge, an open innovation contest for bright ideas for intelligently connected lighting. With the average American home containing more than 40 light sockets and a power source, "lighting is uniquely positioned to be the "glue" of the smart home," said the contest's organizers.

Hardware developers, inventors and designers were invited to participate and to consider all possible types of lighting for the home, including floor and table lamps, voice-activated lights and lights that are turned on and off by temperature sensors. Ideas could be submitted in any of the several categories, which included health/wellness, home decor and energy efficiency. To help guide thinking Slack Sessions were held where innovators could chat with the GE team, view videos and read plenty of tips.

Nearly 1,000 participants submitted their ideas, which had to make use of C by GE, Bluetooth-enabled LED light bulbs. There were three winning designs, which were unveiled at the World Maker Faire in New York.

Open Innovation Challenge Winners

First place in the contest and a check for $25,000 went to Rohan Pandya, a student from Georgia Tech for a design that features several connected applications within one light source. One application syncs the light source with personal fitness devices to tell you if you have been idle for too long. Another app offers light-based motion detection that links with security systems.

Second place and a check for $12,500 was awarded to data scientist, Scott Thibault for an idea that uses both motion and audio detection within a light source. The idea is to track activity inside a home and the resulting data is used to discover who is in the building and in which rooms they are located. The system can then adjust the lighting to each person's preferences.

Third place and a check for $6,250 went to Joseph Hollmann, a post-doctoral researcher from Barcelona for an app that could be used to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The crib mobile application uses light that is invisible to the naked eye to detect a baby's heart rate and oxygen levels while it is in its crib. If there are any strange readings an audio warning is sounded.

"This is a great example of the community-powered business solutions we’re delivering through crowdsourcing and open innovation," said Dyane Finkhousen, Director Open Innovation & Advanced Manufacturing, GE Global Operations.

GE is hoping to make the winning designs part of its product line in the future.

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