How many British inventors does it take to change a light bulb?
Jake Dyson, son of vacuum titan James Dyson, has created an LED that keeps its brightness for over 40 years. It might be the smartest, cheapest, and most environmentally-friendly light ever created.
Dyson is the founder of Jake Dyson Lighting, which he founded in 2004 and is now a subsidiary of the larger Dyson brand. The company sells just two models of lamps: the CSYS, a floor and desk lamp, and the Cu-Beam, an overhead lamp. Both rely on LEDs, which Dyson says are designed to last a lifetime, provided they don’t overheat.
“In our CSYS task lights and Cu-Beam suspended lights, there are heat pipes which channel heat away from the LEDs and dissipate it out of the room,” Dyson tells Tech Insider. “This helps to keep them cool and protect them from the damage which would otherwise occur.”
Without that damage, the LEDS can last a reported 40 years at full brightness. But even after that, they won’t die, Dyson clarifies. They will still work, just at about 70% of their original intensity.
What separates Dyson’s company from its competitors is that, counter-intuitively, most companies just let the bulbs heat up. Though they could spare customers the chore of replacing their bulbs — heat-dissipating technology already exists in microprocessors and satellites — many manufacturers still go with lower-tech options.
Dyson isn’t confused about why adoption has been slow.
“The market for disposable light bulbs is worth billions of dollars a year worldwide, so some manufacturers are not interested in creating lighting products that last a lifetime,” he says. “I see some parallels to when my father pioneered the first bagless vacuum cleaner. At that time other manufacturers rejected the idea because selling throwaway vacuum bags was so lucrative.”
In that way, Dyson’s most ambitious goal isn’t just reinventing the light bulb. He wants to change how people think about lighting in general, in the same way Edison did when he gave people an alternative to burning the midnight oil. The savings for consumers in the long run could be substantial, perhaps hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The reduced waste would also make for a greener planet.
“I’d like to see more manufacturers thinking sustainably, developing lighting products which don’t have bulbs that need to be thrown away after a relatively short amount of time,” he says.
So in reality, Dyson doesn’t want to kill the traditional light bulb. He actually wants to sell people a light that is incapable of dying: one that could shine over your child’s crib, light up their embarrassing prom photo by the fireplace, and even cast a glow over your casket.