In 2050, home lighting will be completely different from today:
LEDs will have replaced incandescent bulbs everywhere, and they will be just as bright, but use only a fifth of the electricity. Because they generate practically no heat, they can be easily integrated into furniture and even clothing.
In addition to the tiny LEDs there will also be organic LEDs, or OLEDs, evenly glowing plastic sheets. They can be used to construct luminescent ceilings that are as bright as the blue sky or glow in warmer colors in the evening.
Wall-sized OLED displays also serve as TVs, video telephones, and monitors for Internet access — all in a 3-D format that doesn’t require special glasses, of course.
For example, the apartment above is the dream of every light designer: It has room dividers made of luminescent plastics, a huge 3-D Internet wall, delicate lighting accents in the furniture and red and blue LEDs in the faucets showing whether hot or cold water is flowing. There’s even a holographic fire in the fireplace.
The highlight is this woman’s evening gown with glittering woven-in fibers. She’s just taken her electronic newspaper, unrolled it to the traditional size, and pressed the update key. While she watches the video accompanying the headline article, the man uses a remote control to transform the ceiling into a night sky with myriads of stars.
The only question concerning these highly efficient light sources is whether people will use less electricity overall, or buy more lighting devices and thus need even more electricity.
The desire to catch up, especially in Asia, seems to be very high. Today, every American uses ten times more artificial light than an average Chinese and 30 times more than an Indian.