By Scott Packard
on 9.4.12
Photo by Switch

Improving on Edison’s original incandescent light bulb design has been a mixed bag — the soft-serve CFLs save energy but cast a bluish cadaver pallor and require a HazMat response to clean up mercury released if they break. A different, albeit expensive, approach to energy efficiency comes in the Switch LED light bulb.

Continues after the jump.

Prone to burn-out as temperatures rise, this LED uses food-grade non-toxic/non-staining silicone as a liquid coolant, circulating heated liquid from the interior to the exterior like a subdued lava lamp. All that viscous sand makes for a weighty appliance—almost 10 ounces of heft and ~27,000 hours of life have managed to turn the light bulb from a disposable commodity to a durable good—one that costs about $40. Cost recoupment occurs after about six months of use.

By adjusting the light temperature, the makers have been able to replicate the warm light of incandescents (at 2700 kelvin) or daylight (at 4000 kelvin). An odd fringe benefit of switch bulbs—they don’t attract bugs because they don’t emit UV rays. With four output levels (100, 75, 60, and 40) meant to correlate to the recognized “watt” power measure—light output is actually measured in lumens (Gear Patrol offers this illuminating tidbit of trivia to our readers)—as well as crystal clear or frosted, the sculpted curves of the Switch bulb may well make lampshades obsolete and elevate the bulb to art. The question will no longer be, “How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?” (54—eight to argue, one to get a continuance, one to demur, two to research precedents…), but rather, “Who do I trust to handle my light bulbs?”

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