字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント This episode of DNews is brought to you by “How We Got To Now” with Steven Johnson - premieres Wednesday October 15 at 9/8c on PBS. Three scientists who invented the LED were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics this year. But what have LED lights really done for us? And more importantly, what can do they for the rest of the world? Hey guys, Tara here for Dnews - and in this modern world, it can be easy to take for granted just how much work and research went into developing the things we use every day. Take LEDs, for example. The three scientists who pioneered the LED - or light emitting diode - back in the early 90s, were just awarded the 2014 Nobel prize in physics, which is exclusively awarded to inventions that offer the greatest benefit to mankind. Of course, those of us living in first-world countries may not view LEDs as anything more than a way to save money on lightbulbs - but as the official press release says, “LEDs have the potential to increase the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids.” In the same way that Thomas Edison's filament bulb replaced gas lighting in the 19th century, LEDs are poised to be the next big generation of lighting technology. They're efficient, long-lasting, and by the year 2050 - they're expected to completely replace fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. Interestingly, when they first came about in the 1980s, LEDs weren't really all that useful because at the time, they could only emit green and red light. It wasn't until the 90s, when Shuji Nakamura developed the first high-brightness blue LED, that people realized the three of those colors could be combined to produce white light - making them acceptable for everyday use. Since then, the technology has advanced at a remarkable rate. They're roughly 15 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs, meaning you wouldn't even need a power grid to use them. Solar panels and small batteries would be more than enough to power the homes of the staggering 1.2 billion people in the world who lack access to electricity. Most of those households are still burning wood or gas for light - which isn't just inefficient, it also creates indoor air pollution that according to the WHO, kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Currently, the biggest hurdle is cost. If you consider their longevity, and the savings in energy costs, then yes - LEDs are cheaper than other types of lightbulbs. It's the upfront costs that are higher. If you were to buy a 60W incandescent bulb right now, it would cost you about a dollar. A single LED bulb, however, with equivalent brightness would be about $10. So it is a big financial commitment, but it also pays off in the long run. Plus, LED bulbs - just like any technology - get dramatically cheaper every year. Eventually, the hope is that every household in the world will have access to something we here in developed nations, have had for centuries now - the miracle of modern light. Kinda puts things into perspective, doesn't it? What do you guys think? Were these guys deserving of the Nobel Prize? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below - and as always, thank you guys for watching!