How Blue LED Lights Changed The World!

How Blue LED Lights Changed The World!

This episode of DNews is brought to you by
“How We Got To Now” with Steven Johnson – premieres Wednesday October 15 at 9/8c on
PBS. Three scientists who invented the LED were
awarded the Nobel Prize in physics this year. But what have LED lights really done for us?
And more importantly, what can do they for the rest of the world? Hey guys, Tara here for Dnews – and in this
modern world, it can be easy to take for granted just how much work and research went into
developing the things we use every day. Take LEDs, for example. The three scientists who pioneered the LED
– or light emitting diode – back in the early 90s, were just awarded the 2014 Nobel prize
in physics, which is exclusively awarded to inventions that offer the greatest benefit
to mankind. Of course, those of us living in first-world
countries may not view LEDs as anything more than a way to save money on lightbulbs – but
as the official press release says, “LEDs have the potential to increase the quality
of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids.” In the same way that Thomas Edison’s filament
bulb replaced gas lighting in the 19th century, LEDs are poised to be the next big generation
of lighting technology. They’re efficient, long-lasting, and by the year 2050 – they’re
expected to completely replace fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. Interestingly, when they first came about
in the 1980s, LEDs weren’t really all that useful because at the time, they could only
emit green and red light. It wasn’t until the 90s, when Shuji Nakamura developed the
first high-brightness blue LED, that people realized the three of those colors could be
combined to produce white light – making them acceptable for everyday use. Since then, the technology has advanced at
a remarkable rate. They’re roughly 15 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, meaning
you wouldn’t even need a power grid to use them. Solar panels and small batteries would
be more than enough to power the homes of the staggering 1.2 billion people in the world
who lack access to electricity. Most of those households are still burning
wood or gas for light – which isn’t just inefficient, it also creates indoor air pollution
that according to the WHO, kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis
combined. Currently, the biggest hurdle is cost. If
you consider their longevity, and the savings in energy costs, then yes – LEDs are cheaper
than other types of lightbulbs. It’s the upfront costs that are higher. If you were to buy a 60W incandescent bulb
right now, it would cost you about a dollar. A single LED bulb, however, with equivalent
brightness would be about $10. So it is a big financial commitment, but it also pays
off in the long run. Plus, LED bulbs – just like any technology – get dramatically cheaper
every year. Eventually, the hope is that every household
in the world will have access to something we here in developed nations, have had for
centuries now – the miracle of modern light. Kinda puts things into perspective, doesn’t
it? What do you guys think? Were these guys deserving
of the Nobel Prize? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below – and as always, thank
you guys for watching!

100 thoughts on “How Blue LED Lights Changed The World!

  1. An odd phrase she used. "It wasn't until Shuji Nakamura develop the first high-brightness blue LED that people realized the 3 of those colors could be combined to produce white light."

    This, of course, is not at all true. People totally realized it, and were actively trying to figure it out for that express purpose. Millions were being spent by some very large companies based on that realization. Nakamura was all the more amazing as he did it with a fraction of the budget others had.

    This is not at all a case of, "Hmm, blue LEDs, what are we going to do with that?" People knew exactly what to do with them, long before they had them. They were very actively searching for them, and Nakamura was considered hyper-bold to manage to convince his company to fund his efforts. He got huge writeup when it occurred. Everyone knew it was big, which is why they were all searching for it.

    I love this channel. Tara and the others are amazing. But sometimes I wonder if they think that all us folks, pre-1980, were a bunch of dunderheads. We had color CRTs that combined red blue and green to make white already. We already knew that LEDs were lower energy, more reliable, and well suited to miniaturization. So the idea that no one knew ahead of time that blue LEDs would make it possible to make white light????

    Everyone knew.

    What they didn't know, until Nakamura, was how to actually do it. 

    And because it was so heavily sought after, this is definitely not the case of someone lucking into the right place at the right time (like the Cosmic Background Microwave Radiation discovery when they didn't even know what they were looking for) or so many other discoveries where the guys who got the Nobel were the guys with the biggest budget tools.

    No, in this case, Nakamura knew the value, and he was not working at all with the best lab available. So he definitely deserves the Nobel, if anyone does. It was an amazing discovery.

  2. LED's are really taking over the market.
    I think it pays off as well, uses less electricity, doesn't get warm and they last longer.

  3. Another missed point (even though I love this channel) involves data storage: the data pickup in DVD players is based upon a red laser LED. Due to the smaller wave-length of blue light, blue laser LEDs allow Blu-ray discs to store 4-5 more information than DVD disks (this statement ignores other factors like multiple-layer technology, compression algorithms, etc)

  4. When admitting to it's low power consumption, a Nobel price is good. It prevents pollution from indoor burning and electricity usage and oil consumption. It can be used by billions and a led-light bulb as a birthday present is then good.)

  5. I don't own any filament bulb torches but also saying that I don't own any LED house lights because they are $26+ each bulb here.

  6. Maybe if LED's didnt cost so much…
    Currently, the amount I would save by having my lights on 24/7 is no where near how much I loose by buying them instead of CFL's.

  7. The man who invented the LED never won a Nobel prize. And pardon me for my opinion, but that's bullshit. He deserves one too, without him this would have never happened.

  8. I honestly hate LED lights there in my school and they just give me's massive headaches. Everyday I get headaches every single day because of them and I hate them.

  9. Lol she said we've had modern light for centuries. Meaning at least 200 years. Edison's bulb was invented 132 years ago…

  10. Where did you get your price for the led light bulb of ten dollars? Everywhere I see them they are usually 26-40 dollars.

  11. It just shows that real solutions are easier to promote than fake ones. The polititions don't want real solutions to screw up the idea that they have no clue on what's going on. Technology development is the only way

  12. The problem that keeps mains powered led lights expensive is they are DC so need the AC rectified to DC at the correct voltage and current limitation to work. 

    Led lights  design need extra circuitry to keep the voltage and current at the correct value and to do this efficiently adds extra costs.

  13. Cheap microwaves, LED's and solar cells. Now they just need to invent a cheap efficient heat source with a low carbon footprint.

  14. Oh yeah, that LED Nobel Prize is definitely warranted. I've recently bought an ultra-high-efficiency LED that uses 0.35W and puts out an entire room's worth of light. For you non-technical people out there, that means you can crank a dynamo for about 60 seconds for an hour of bright light.

  15. Another great advantage to led lights is they don't put out any heat. I use them in the common areas of my home without having to worry about the bulbs heating up the rooms.

    Also, most home improvement stores sell 2-packs of led bulbs for $10-15 a set.

  16. question for house LED where do people put more yellowish light and brighter LEDS? (2700 vs 5000k) I like those bright white is it too much to put all of them all around the house for indoor and outdoor? or most people have 2700k indoor and 5000k outdoor?

  17. Sask Power just did a rebate program. Gave us $5 per bulb back. The bulbs should have been around $8.50 each, so I paid about $3.50 each. Bought enough for my whole house. at over 11c per kw/h, it wont take long to get the money back.

  18. well, will see, same story about florescent were to replace incandescent and we now know the stupidity of those light bulbs (more expensive/shorter life (in short time use area)/and full of mercury), I personally don't ike the light emitted by them (unnatural), I perfer incandescent (and it heat up the house in winter).
    About fireplace, they are not the problem about toxic air, it is the lake of air circulation, since any gaz heater/gaz stove/ … create too carbone monoxyde, and FYI wood burning is the cheapest way to heat up a house and it is renewable energy.

    EDIT : I forgot, light bulbs manufacturer control the lifespam of light bulbs, they made them last shorter aver the years (don't quote me on the number but it was something like 2500 to 1000 Hrs for incandescente)

  19. Fk LEDS…I want my damn regular lightbulbs abck. I dont give a hoot about electricity or enviroments.. I want my bright bulbs that give off heat and let me keep my well pump from freezing.

  20. There seems to be a lot of confusion in the comments about blue LEDs.
    1) To make white light, you always need blue.
    2) Headlights tend not to be LED, Blue-ish headlights may be halogen with filters or high intensity plasma discharge lamps. Although LED technologies are beginning to make a show, particularly with Audi's active system with a segmented light where segments are supposed to be dynamically turned off to minimise oncoming dazzle.
    3) High intensity discharge refers to the plasma current, not the intensity of the luminous flux, which also tends to be high at the edge of the discharge
    4) The total brightness of the light at the front glass of a headlight is not a function of the lamp technology per se. It is from the fitting design and specification including reflector configuration.
    5) Perhaps intense headlights with a strong blue component are more likely to dazzle oncoming drivers, but this is not a matter of lamp technology. This is a matter of buyer choice at the showroom, and regulations.

    Driving around Shaftesbury Avenue, London recently I was badly dazzled by an Audi. That is more likely to be the driver using full beams (totally unnecessarily in a well lit, traffic gridlocked metropolitan street) or Audi's implementation of the technology. Maybe the driver was showing off. There is a lot of room for headlight technology to improve, and that is helped by LEDs.

  21. Light is overrated, back in my day we would stumble around in the dark and copulate with what we thought was our wife… and lemme tell ya, we liked it!

  22. Heating gas with fire is still better bc it electric goes out your still screwed even though it's wildly uncontrollable. Plus the thing wit led like all form of electronic requires batteries or some forms of electricity to power it.

  23. It seems that the population is split between warm-yellow and cool-white, therefore most LED bulbs come in both color temperatures.

    I was never a fan of the blue-white of the previous generation of "white" LED, and I doubt many others are either. I prefer a pure white light, always.

  24. I have been using LED lights, and they really help me to save energy. Great invention, congratulations to the scientists for the the Novel Prize.

  25. If they make the led bulbs of all kinds below $5 each then they really earns the Nobel prize %100% , they are at %50%

  26. Maybe someone should teach you about wavelength and how it can damage the eye…LED lights appear 'white', however, most use a blue LED driver with a fluorescent sheet cover which masks the blue light. The 'healthiest' wavelengths of light are near the infrared spectrum >1200 nm. Blue LED light is typically between 670 nm and 850 nm and is perfect for damaging the eye – The public’s exposure to blue light is expected to increase, as up to 90% of light sources will be replaced with LEDs, wrote Ronald Melton, adjunct faculty member at Indiana University School of Optometry and Salus University College of Optometry. LEDs are fluorescent lamps, consisting of a blue LED, a driver LED, and a fluorescent sheet that covers the blue LED, transforming part of the blue light into longer wavelengths, thereby creating a yellowish light. The yellowish light from the fluorescent layer combines together with the residual blue light to a kind of whitish light, a large portion of which is an aggressive blue light.

  27. According to Dr. Alexander Wunsch – "Blue has the highest energy in the visible part of the spectrum and produces, infuses, the production of ROS, of oxidative stress," he says.

    "The blue light causes ROS in your tissue, and this stress needs to be balanced with near-infrared that is not present in LEDs. We need even more regeneration from blue light, but the regenerative part of the spectrum is not found in the blue, in the short wavelength, part. It's found in the long wavelength part, in the red and the near-infrared. So tissue regeneration and tissue repair results from the wavelengths that are not present in an LED spectrum.

    We have increased stress on the short wavelength part and we have reduced regeneration and repair on the long wavelength part. This is the primary problem … [W]e don't have this kind of light quality in nature. This has consequences. The stress has consequences in the retina; it has consequences in our endocrine system."

  28. Dr. Mercola States – Just remember to get incandescents that are crystal clear and not coated with white to give off a cool white light. You want a 2,700 K incandescent, thermal analog light source. Actually, fragrance-free candles would be even better. Be particularly mindful to only use this type of light at night. After sunset, I also use blue-blocking glasses.

  29. Remember – LED bulbs may say they are 3000K – but this is CCT – correlated colour temperature – another words – how the light APPEARS to the eye and is not a true measurement in the standard of what light is actually being emitted.

  30. Actually the same color spectrum was in CFL's for some time. The 3 reigning color options currently in LED's is Warm White, Bright White, and Daylight; that is of course the brands carried by Home Depot. Warm White and Bright White I call yellow light as the spectrum is either 27K or 3K and sometime 33K. However, the majority of the customers here prefer the Daylight which has a Kelvin of 5K which mimics sunlight between 10 am and 2 pm. It's called full spectrum as discovered by Dr. Ott. As people age they actually need to get away from the lower Kelvin as the eye needs more blue-white light to see. Prices today have come down considerably as a 4 pack of Daylight 60W Phillips at Home Depot is currently $7.97.

  31. wow so the white led light just been around for 3yrs now?…can someone tell me is this a fact? and how much discovering blue led helps change the world?

  32. The presenter says the LED was pioneered back in the early 90s.
    According to Wiki LEDs were pioneered in the early 60s.

  33. Shuji Nakamura started working for Nichia in 1979. He "only" had a MSc in Engineering not a PhD, which adversely affected him; he was not respected by the company he worked for and was treated as an ordinary employee.

    Undaunted, he worked 16-18 hour days for years, routinely sleeping overnight in the laboratory. He, and the team he led, gradually perfected the growth of perfect crystals of gallium nitride, the substance required for the White LED.

    After almost 20 years of work, Nakamura perfected the his gallium nitride LED; a light, when combined with a compound of cerium, emits white light (the white LED).

    Despite Nakamura's revolutionary invention, he was always only paid a basic wage by Nichia. He was not awarded for his achievement. However, in 2001, Nakamura sued Nichia and he won. He was awarded $180 million for his invention!

  34. Oh, you mean those blue pieces of shit people put out during Christmas that have caused me to nearly crash my car 8 times because they cause me severe headaches and semi-blindness? Oh yeah I fucking love those.

  35. They dont emit the right kind of light…. they wolnt replace normal light until they can give off the same light as normal light bulbs.

  36. The number one reason people still use normal light bulbs is the warm natural spectrume light. LEDs emit cold light…. not worth the switch yet.

  37. Your video is WRONG! The pioneers of LEDs are: Russian inventor Oleg Losev reported creation of the first LED in 1927. In 1961, James R. Biard and Gary Pittman constructed and demonstrated efficient light emission

  38. Pretty sad when you learn more from the comment section then the misinformation in the video. . . But hooray for the comment section!
    While I'm at it, I must take exception to the way that inCANdescent is pronounced in this video, if you understood that this process came from candescence, you would not emphasize the "CAN"

  39. Horrible light. Blue light prevents the production of melatonin. It's blinding you, destroying your eyesign.
    I use incandescent lights in my home. I just bought 150 incandescent lights, so I'll have a great stock for a good time.
    P.S. Bulbs consume just about 7% of your home electricity. I spare a lot more energy turning of my electric shower while in bath or turning off the AC while not in home than replacing my incandescent 40w lamps with horrible, super-glare LEDs

  40. I disagree. According to WHO & AMA, blue light present in LED lights contains high bio-active blue wavelength content. Long-term exposure can cause serious damage to the eyes especially cornea and retina. In January, we replaced our house's traditional LED lights with low blue light bulbs. Not many LED manufacturers are focusing on developing innovative LED bulbs based on low blue technology. Fortunately, we found one, SeniorLED, the product catalog and price is unbelievable. We've also observed that our sleep quality is becoming better and better. Reason being the regulation of body's circadian rhythm during sleep under low blue LED lights. For more info about low blue light bulbs, check out this blog or visit for bulk inquiry .

  41. Thank you for the educational video. I have a quick question on LED Bulbs. I have seen some Car headlight bulbs advertise on their boxes that it produces upto 6000 Kelvin, which I believe they are referring to lumens but in terms of temperature. Now 6000 Kelvin is very hot, as hot as Sun's surface thats close to 5730 Celsius… So how is it possible that a car headlight bulbs filament is producing as much heat as Sun's surface? Is it true or am I missing something here? I understand they are trying to refer to the color as temperature, as further the object is bluer its going to be. And Blue is hotter than red..but then why refer the bulb filament as 6000K which emits the same kind of light (blueishh) as any hot star from further away…

    Thank you for the explanation!

  42. Blue LEDs made every crackpot on ebay rip out the correct white lamps thinking it would be BLUER. I had to get warm white ones for a 1976 Kenwood because I can't read the freaking blue from the other side of the room! AUUUUUUUGH!

  43. It is 2018 now, and it is possible to buy 60 Watt ( 800 lumen ) bulbs in stores for $1 each. So now they are the same price as old fashioned incandescent bulbs.
    Now that is progress !

  44. 10$ for LED bulb? Not anymore! Can easily get 4 of those for that price nowadays. So glad these are cheap. It's like a much needed popularity

  45. "The three scientists that pioneered LEDs in the early 90s"…
    Excuse me, what?????
    LEDs were pioneered in the late 1960s and were in common use by the mid 1970s. Ok we didn't have blue ones yet but that's not what she said. If you're going to make informational videos, at least go find the correct information first!
    I guess that's why she's on YouTube and not TV.
    …or maybe she's just not aware that TV has been invented yet!

  46. Developed on the 1980s I don't think so. The first red LEDs were available in the 1960s. And by the 70s red green and yellow were common. Research people.

  47. those jackasses just want to sell us blue blocker glasses and blue light blocking screen protectors! who knew that light kills the retina in your eyes and leads to blindness. its apalling at who gets the NPP now and the idiotic reasons why are outrageous

  48. @ 02m48 Sir Joseph Wilson Swan, by 1860, he was able to demonstrate a working device, and obtained a British patent. That is not "centuries" ago 😀

  49. I was diagnosed with childhood absence epilepsy and my triggers are flashing lights, LED lights, florescent lights and specifically the transition from the out doors to inside a classroom getting too hot getting my photo taken and recently sleep deprivation. i am taking a nurseing class and the lighting that is in the CNA class is dim florescent lighting and it is a trigger for my seizures but i do not want to say any thing and i am doing what i think i can not do and i just keep pushing thru.

  50. What is the braggadocio for? It's kind of cringe-worthy boasting about having lights in the developed world for centuries.

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