Sunday 22 June 2008

The impact of changes to everyday technologies

After hearing about a record breaking 105 year old light bulb from Kim, this short piece about the demise of the incandescent light bulb by Alice Rawsthorne, which was republished in this weekend's SMH Good Weekend, caught my attention. All around the world, incandescent bulb are being phased out by new energy efficient lighting technologies, like compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs.

Today we wouldn't think much about the impact of an everyday technology like electric lighting, but as Rawsthorne explains that the incandescent light bulb "wasn’t the only reason why pioneering Modernist architects like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe introduced a new style of lighter, brighter interiors in the early 20th century, but it was a big one. Until then, most rooms were painted in dark colors to disguise the stains of oil and gas lamps."

Rawsthorne has a problem with energy efficient lighting because it is "cold and flat". I couldn't agree more with her. I've also found that compact fluorescent bulbs can also play havoc with some equipment that uses infrared, like the portable keyboard for my Palm TX. I wonder how we will change our home living environments to respond to this change, afterall who wants to live in a space that feels like the workplace?

Another reminder that apparently simply technology changes can have widespread impacts.

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