The OLIVE research project: Circadian lighting solutions soon to be commonplace

LED – three letters that until now almost exclusively represented the hunt for ever higher efficiency levels, increasing from generation to generation at a record-breaking rate. Now, however, researchers are active in fields that illuminate the lower-lying potential of digital light. 

OLIVE is just such a project, coordinated by the "think tank" of the TRILUX Group, the Innovation and Technology Centre (ITZ), and subsidised by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). Common research is now being carried out with other partners under this acronym towards "optimised light systems for improvements in performance capability and health".

The times when light featured merely on-off functionality are long gone, due to the inexorable rise of LED, and new application horizons are opening up for the semiconductor technology thanks to its perfect integration into modern information and communication infrastructures. According to the motto of "small but great", the light sources provide almost unlimited electronic control options, and due to their compact construction sizes can be used almost anywhere.

OLIVE is focusing on three particular areas:

  1. Medical examinations should close further gaps in understanding the effect of light on people.
  1. The chronobiological findings thus gained are used to integrate sensors and light control with new customer benefits into tomorrow's lighting systems.
  1. Energy efficiency levels from LED luminaires generating dynamic light should be further increased.

It all sounds complicated, and in part it certainly is. "Much fundamental research is carried out in the project in order to better comprehend the effects of light on human beings," stated Horst Rudolph from the TRILUX ITZ. All findings must then be transferred to specific applications, and the aim is to develop a modular system.

In addition to functional and emotional aspects, non-visual effects will become increasingly important – lighting controls our biological clock via special receptors in the eye and therefore significantly influences our well-being and health. Intelligent lighting of the future should and will therefore not only ensure pleasant living

and work atmospheres, but also specifically support our natural biological rhythms.

"The OLIVE research project will contribute to light being perceived completely differently in the future," ensured Horst Rudolph, and lighting solutions will not only be considered for purely visual tasks but also with regard to health and well-being. The manager fully expects in the near future that almost all lighting systems will support the circadian rhythm in their basic settings. If specific tasks crop up and modify the framework conditions, individual lighting scenes will then be automatically made available.