2024 Computer Science Colloquium Series

A little light reading: changes in lighting technology and the human and environmental health

Tom Igoe, Arts Professor, NYU

Wednesday, Feb 28th, 2024, 2:00 PM

Location: Larrañaga Engineering Auditorium (Centennial 1041)


The lighting industry has seen some significant changes in the past decade. There are four driving forces behind this:

  • LEDs are the primary lighting technology now;
  • Digital control of light is becoming increasingly common;
  • Recent discoveries in biology have detailed light's impact on human health;
  • The lighting industry has a material impact on the environment.

These factors change profoundly how we design, how we teach lighting design, how we make lighting fixtures. The first two affect what we can do with light; the second two affect what we should do with light. In this talk, I'll discuss these factors in context of the lighting industry and its intersection with digital systems and human and environmental health.


Tom Igoe is the area head for physical computing courses at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) in the Tisch School of the Arts. In these courses, he teaches programming and electronics as tools for art and design, starting with how to sense and respond to human physical expression. His research interests also include networks, lighting design, the environmental and social impacts of technology development, clocks, and monkeys. He is a co-founder of Arduino, and hopes to visit Svalbard and Antarctica someday.