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National Win for Ann Arbor Start-up Continues Trend of Michigan Lighting Innovation

By Posted on November 6, 2014

National Win for Ann Arbor Start-up Continues Trend of Michigan Lighting Innovation

Arborlight, LLC, a University of Michigan spin-off and Ann Arbor, MI-based start-up, just hit a huge home run and is further establishing Michigan as a leader in the advanced lighting industry.

Recently, Arborlight was announced as a winner of the 2014 Next Generation Luminaires (NGL) competition, organized and hosted by the US Department of Energy, the competition seeks to encourage technical innovation and recognize and promote excellence in the design of energy-efficient LED luminaires for commercial, industrial and institutional applications.

Arborlight is virtually inventing a new lighting product category: daylight emulation. We all love daylight. It makes us feel good, be more productive, have more energy, the list goes on and on. Yet, the reality for many is that to work, learn, shop and generally go about our daily business, we are forced to spend most of our time indoors with little or no access to daylight. The aim of Arborlight’s Solis is to remedy that situation. The Solis product allows you to create an indoor environment that simulates daylight in where it would be otherwise impossible, literally mimicking the sun. It’s Wi-Fi enabled, has the appearance of a traditional skylight, emulates daylight conditions, and autonomously adjusts color, intensity, and directionality throughout the day to match outdoor illumination. Essentially, it provides people with the ability to experience morning, high noon, and evening light conditions in a windowless space.

As a technology accelerator based in Detroit, MI, NextEnergy often works with start-up companies to help them demonstrate innovative, new products such as the Solis. Earlier this year, one was installed to illuminate a dark hallway in our offices. It was amazing to watch the reactions from staff. Some wanted to stand by the light fixture “because it made them feel good” and others began to naturally congregate near the fixture in an area of our building that was otherwise underutilized.

The judges of the NGL competition praised the innovative color tuning capabilities of the Solis luminaire. Specific comments included: “the programming capabilities are amazing,” “cool concept, lots of opportunity,” “great idea for a unique product.”

This “home run” for Arborlight is also one for Michigan. It leverages the state’s deep research, development, engineering, and entrepreneurial talent, and builds on a string of other recent successful developments. Arborlight, along with the rest of Michigan’s advanced lighting eco-system, will be showcasing these developments at the Michigan Advanced Lighting Conference on November 19 in Lansing.

Congratulations to all for keeping the innovation momentum going.


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