At CES 2007 Philips discreetly demonstrated its light-emitting
fabrics, called Lumalive, that allow everyday garments or soft furnishings to light
up with colorful patterns or animated displays.
fabrics incorporate arrays of LED pixels mounted on a flexible lightweight
substrate, with each pixel containing closely spaced red, green and blue LEDs.
Electric conducting tracks on the plastic substrate connect these pixels
into a matrix display configuration, allowing each pixel to be individually
addressed and the light intensity of its three LEDs varied in order to produce
any desired color. Standard Lumalive panels measure 20 cm square and contain an
array of 14 x 14 pixels, spaced a little over one centimeter apart. The panels
can be interlinked or scaled up to cover large areas.
of translucent material covering the LEDs diffuse the light such that adjacent
pixels merge into one another, allowing the display of daylight-visible colored
patterns, dynamic images, short text messages or even full color animations.
Cover materials with different light dispersion/diffusion characteristics can
be used to create different lighting effects. In the Lumalive couch (pictured
at right), for example, the cover materials have been combined with white
canvas to create a textured luminance. When the LEDs are turned off, Lumalive
fabrics are indistinguishable from normal fabric.
flexibility of the substrate material in which the LEDs are embedded and the
softness of the covering layers make Lumalive fabrics pliable, while the low
weight of the panels (typically around 100 grams) means they add very little to
the total weight of garments. As a result, clothing made of Lumalive fabrics should
remain comfortable to wear.
connection to the panels is made via a waterproof connector leading to a
compact control unit, measuring around 11.5 x 6.5 x 2 cm and weighing
approximately 150 grams, that contains the control electronics and battery
pack. Additional display driver/multiplexing circuitry built into the panel
itself reduces the number of connections between the control unit and the panel
to just five conductors, greatly simplifying the size and weight of the wiring
harness. Based around an ARM microprocessor and 256 MB of flash memory for
content storage, the control unit allows the display of animated graphics
sequences of up to ten minutes duration.
fabric solutions are supplied with Windows-based PC software that interfaces
with the USB connector on the control unit, allowing for animated graphics,
scrolling text messages or moving images to be uploaded. Alternatively, the unit
can be connected to a GSM module, allowing pre-loaded content to be triggered
via SMS messages or SMS messages to be transferred directly to the Lumalive
Li-ion battery in the control unit typically powers a single 20 cm square 14 x
14-pixel Lumalive panel for three to four hours, depending on the type of
visuals displayed. In furniture, the control unit can be powered from a
standard AC plug adapter and up to ten panels inter-linked to cover larger
areas without the need for additional control electronics. The high-efficiency
LEDs used in the entire Lumalive couch consumes the same amount of electricity
as a 20W light bulb.
panels are encased in a translucent pocket of water-resistant material,
allowing them to be used in applications where the material may be subjected to
rain, snow or liquid spills. For hand, machine or dry-cleaning of the fabrics,
the panels and their drive electronics/batteries can be removed from garments
or furniture before starting the cleaning process and straightforwardly
has yet to announce pricing or retail partners for its Lumalive fabric