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Innovation & Job News

U of T trio set to launch new high-efficiency light bulb

In the years since compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs started appearing on hardware store shelves, we've all gotten used to the idea of switching to more energy efficient lightbulbs in our homes. Now, in several jurisdictions around the world, the old incandescent bulbs are being phased out by law. In Canada this process will culminate during 2014, as bulbs become subject to new energy efficiency regulations.

Hoping to help consumers become even more efficient, three University of Toronto alumni are preparing to launch a new bulb called NanoLight. It's a new form of LED bulb devised by applied science and engineering grads Gimmy Chu, Christian Yan, and Tom Rodinger.

It took the three entrepreneurs "probably about two or three years" to settle on the NanoLight's design, Chu told us over the phone from California. It uses 12 watts of energy to create the same light as a traditional 100 watt light bulb. A NanoLight will, he says, provide 30,000 hours of illumination. (You can learn a bit more about the technical details in this video.)

The three founders are in the last days of a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to help them launch the product--a campaign which has already raised more than 10 times the $20,000 they were aiming for. "The last thing you want to do is give up equity," Chu says when asked about choosing to crowdsource their start-up funding rather than pursue more established investment routes. With investors potentially calling the shots, Chu and his co-founders were worried, the entrepreneurs might "end up doing work you don't believe in."

The first NanoLights are expected to ship in May, and the trio's next goal is to build up momentum and generate orders. After that, Chu says, they hope to expand the product line to include dimmable bulbs, as well as bulbs in a range of colours and to fit different sockets. There is also "a solar product" already in the works, though Chu is saving the details of that for now.

Writer: Hamutal Dotan
Source: Gimmy Chu, co-founder, NanoLight
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