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Toronto-based OTI Lumionics launches its super thin Aerelight desk lamp

At the end of last year, Yonge Street Media featured five Toronto startups we thought would make a big splash in 2015. More than half a year after that piece was originally published, one of the companies included in that list, OTI Lumonics, has finally shipped its first product.

OTI’s Aerelight A1 OLED desk lamp can now be purchased for $299 CAD from the company’s website.

Besides being able to claim that it is the world’s first OLED desk lamp, the A1 includes a couple of nifty features not usually present in your everyday lamp. For one, the entirety of its aluminum frame is touch-sensitive; instead of turning the lamp on and off, adjusting the panel’s brightness is done by simply touching the frame. It also supports both the Qi and PMA charging standards, meaning that those that have an Android smartphone can charge it by placing it on the lamp’s base (Apple, unfortunately, does not currently support either of those standards with the iPhone).

Initially envisioned as a way to help the average person understand the organic light-emitting diode technology the company has been working on, Albert Lam, a product manager at OTI Lumonics, says the launch of the Aerelight is a big milestone for him and his colleagues. “We’re really proud to have an product that almost anyone can buy,” he says. “The other thing that’s exciting is that this marks the beginning of many more OLED-enabled products, and we’re excited to be leading that.”

At first blush, the cost of the Aerelight appears expensive, but Lam argues that there’s a lot of value to the product. “Even if you go to Crate & Barrel, a desk lamp there can easily cost you $300, and still all you’re getting is a regular bulb,” he says.

More so than the lamp itself, what’s exciting about this launch is the technology OTI has developed to enable. As mentioned before, the Aerelight is the world’s first OLED lamp. OLEDs are ubiquitous in smartphones and HDTVs. However, they’re just making their way into lighting technology, and the have the potential to completely change every aspect of the field.

“Organic LED is an exciting technology because it is made completely out of carbon-based molecules, which are easily degradable and disposable. We’re using simple dyes that are in everyday clothes and cosmetics,” says Lam. The philosophy of our lighting and designs moving forward, because OLED is such a thin form and it can be any shape and flexible, it’s going to enable designs that weren’t possible before. We’re going to be able to do sculptural designs that weren’t possible before and even redefine what we even consider lighting.”
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