There's an interesting article in The Guardian which reports some developments in the field of new forms of lighting and display called OLED ( Organic Light Emitting Diode).
OLED is a leading edge technology that is being developed for the next generation of PC and TV screens but it has other potential uses for example as home lighting - an idea that Lomox, a small UK company is developing.
OLED is built upon the principle of exciting organic molecules by the application of a small electrical voltage. It is potentially a very flexible technology because of the prospect that OLED displays can be printed by laser jet technology. The most efficient form of OLED is Phophorescent OLED technology or PHOLED . OLED produces light very efficiently but at present OLED displays are still costly and have relatively short lifetimes.
Lomox reckon that their approach which is backed by seven patents deals with these problems and will let them produce lighting displays for indoor or outdoor use and deal with both of these problems.
There is an interesting convergence of two technologies now happening. More efficient Solar panels(1) together with increasingly commercial and efficient light production system means that it may soon be possible to realistically provide indoor or outdoor illumination at night from power collected from the sun during the day.
The day looks closer when it will become attractive to build these types of technologies into new build houses. The buyers will have the prospect of cheap and probably very flexible low voltage lighting systems. We may for example be able to buy GlowPaper to replace our wall coverings with flat panel lighting.
What will the house designer of the future do with these new forms of lighting I wonder?
How about a "forest" wallpaper that stretched around your room that glowed to give you the impression of sitting in a sunlight forest clearing?
If you had the chance to design your own wallpapers or panels what would you put on them?
(1) There were for example recent reports that good progress has been made on producing solar panels that collect nearer to the infrared and which are less dependent on direct sunlight.
Here's an Amazon link to the Sony OLED TV