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Shed Some Light On This: The Transforming, Energy Efficient Lamp

Smiley Face LampSmiley Face LampLamps are just lamps, right? Turn them on, there’s light. Turn them off, no light. But a college student from Shanghai is taking lamps to the next level, creating a lamp that saves energy, and transforms.

The Shanghai Daily newspaper reports Yao Yi’s lamp illuminates using more than 40 LED lights, which are cooler than traditional bulbs. That’s key because Yao wants people to be able to play with the lamp. Its lamp shade is a round balloon with a smiley face, as you can see in the picture. The smiley face gets bigger and smaller thanks to an inflation device that can expand or deflate the lamp shade. The bigger the balloon, the more light that’s provided, and the bigger the smiley face.

Yao is a student at East China Normal University, where he entered the lamp in the Philips Lamp Contest, instituted by the lighting company to encourage innovative design. The university says Yao won first prize in the 2008 contest.

Yao said he also wanted to encourage energy savings. Energy experts say LED lights use about a tenth of the power that old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs need. They’re even more efficient than the “green” compact flourescent bulbs, with LED lights using one-third of the power.

Installing and upgrading to LED technology has been a handicap for lighting companies, because of its expense and the amount of work that will need to be done. Yao said he’s facing the same problems with his smiley lamp. His creation is one-of-a-kind, produced as part of a contest in Shanghai for lamp designers. Yao picked up first prize for his lamp. He said, though, that he’d need builders and designers to work on the lamp before it was ready for the marketplace.