Light-emitting-diode bulbs are becoming a new tool for customizing home or office lighting environments.

In November last year, Naomi Watanabe, who teaches at an elementary school in the evenings, installed a Panasonic Corp. LED ceiling light system in her classroom at a private home in Yokohama.

“This has made the texts look sharper and easier for students to read and helped stop them from falling asleep during my class,” Watanabe said.

In “study” mode, the LEDs change color and brightness to produce an environment suitable for studying and for reading.

The bulbs can also re-create the color of the sky. For those who wish to wake up feeling good or wish to feel refreshed, the company recommends “clear” mode because it emulates the color of a clear sky. If you wish to feel relaxed with your family, the “relax” mode is recommended to emulate the colors of a sunset.

“LEDs allow you to change not only the color and brightness of the light, but also its direction,” Kyosuke Yamagata, a senior official at Panasonic, said. “This makes it possible to create an optimal lighting environment in various situations, such as for studying and at the theater, adding spice and color to your daily life.”

The Philips “hue” LED light bulb developed by Royal Philips of the Netherlands, meanwhile, allows customers to produce more than 16 million different color gradations using an application for smartphones and tablets.

For instance, if you select a color from a photograph you have taken with your smartphone, the “hue” light bulb receives information about the color through a wireless connection and emulates it.

Customers can also choose a color from the ready-made modes, such as “relax” and “concentrate.”

Since the system can be remotely controlled, you can turn on the light even when you are away from home to give the impression that you are actually there as a measure against intruders.

With a global positioning system, the hue can also be set to automatically turn itself off when you leave home and turn itself on again just before you return.

Since Philips has disclosed its basic technology for the system, more than 100 different kinds of applications have been developed for customers mainly in Europe and the United States.

Among them is an app for people with hearing impairments that enables the hue to respond to sounds and switch on, and to inform owners that they have received a text message or that stock prices have fluctuated by changing colors.

Explaining that people in Europe tend to change light settings depending on the situation, Yu Sato, an official at the Japanese unit of Philips, said, “We believe that the hue, which combines these custom and advanced networking technologies, has great potential as a future lighting system.”

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