The Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA) held its eighth annual Industry-Academia Days conference February 8-9 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy. This annual conference brought together LESA researchers and students to showcase innovations in research initiatives and educational activities to industry representatives. This year’s conference had over 100 industry attendees from approximately 64 organizations and was the largest conference the center has held to date.

Robert Karlicek, director of the LESA center.

According to Robert Karlicek, director of the LESA center and professor in the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems engineering, “The excitement generated by this conference and the level of interest demonstrated by the increasing industry attendance is because word has gotten out about LESA’s global leadership in the world of lighting-enabled systems and applications. From optical materials and advanced optoelectronic device designs to value-added system applications using digitized, color tunable lighting and light field sensing, LESA’s faculty and students are leading the way in demonstrating important new uses for illumination systems. Industry is acutely aware that the entire lighting industry is struggling to define its future, and LESA’s transformative research is opening new territory for the future of energy-efficient solid-state lighting systems that will benefit society in new and important ways.”

The agenda included a full day of talks and a graduate student research poster session. Topics included advanced lighting systems of the future, occupant-aware cognitive illuminated environments, adaptive controls, lighting and health care, visible light communications, and control feedback mechanisms for optimizing plant growth in controlled environments. Other highlights included the role of industry in the LESA center’s innovation ecosystem and the “Perfect Pitch” competition, in which graduate students presented their research in 90 seconds to industrial representatives. Attendees had the opportunity to interact with LESA students, faculty, and leadership during the poster session and laboratory tours. LESA on-site laboratory tours and demonstrations were also conducted.

Speaker Peter Vanderminden of Flat Iron Strategies gave the keynote address, “Are You Seeing DOTS? – Data Ownership & Transparent Surveillance,” which included an overview of the many methods in which data is collected and the question of who maintains ownership. As lighting systems are increasingly integrated with IoT concepts, data ownership and security is rapidly becoming an important topic.