As engineers across the lighting industry have worked to develop more energy efficient light bulbs, many thought incandescent bulbs would go extinct. However, a team of researchers at MIT decided not to leave them in the dust. Instead, they tweaked the design and came up with an incandescent light bulb that is several times more energy efficient than LEDs and fluorescent bulbs. The new bulb is also vastly better at duplicating natural daylight than modern energy efficient bulbs, so it could give the competition a real run for their money.

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Traditional lightbulbs – that is to say, cheap incandescent varieties – are typically only five percent efficient, losing 95 percent of energy to the atmosphere. The MIT team determined they could wrap the filament with a special crystal structure inside the bulb’s glass to “recycle” energy that is usually lost. The result, according to tests on the proof-of-concept design, is an incandescent bulb that emits the familiar warm glowing light while reaching efficiency levels up to 40 percent. In addition to being a huge improvement over traditional bulbs, MIT’s new bulb also blows LED and fluorescent lighting out of the water, since those typically top out around 14 percent efficiency.

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The other huge selling point of the new bulb is the quality of the light it emits. Rather than a clinical white light like LEDs, the updated incandescent shows colors more naturally, mimicking daylight more closely. That accomplishment is measured in a bulb’s “color rendering index,” and traditional incandescent bulbs rate 100, matching daylight hues exactly. The closest an LED or fluorescent bulb can come is 80, but most modern energy-efficient bulbs on the market today rate much lower.

“An important feature is that our demonstrated device achieves near-ideal rendering of colours,” said principal research scientist Ivan Celanovic. “That is precisely the reason why incandescent lights remained dominant for so long: their warm light has remained preferable to drab fluorescent lighting for decades.”

Via The Telegraph

Images via Shutterstock and MIT