Luminys Systems Corp. Editorial for Crash Testing Technology magazine
One Million Watts of Daylight – on demand
Why would someone concentrate one million watts of light into a small area 20 feet by 20 feet? Well, there are a number of reasons to justify so much light in high speed image capture.
Allow a faster frame rate in order to better study the nature of fast moving events.
Allow a faster shutter speed in order to eliminate blurred images of fast moving objects.
Allow a higher f stop which provides sharper focus of small objects.
This incredible amount of light has produced over 400,000 lux at the Luminys testing facility in Los Angeles. This is two to three times the amount of light used at typical modern automotive testing facilities and more than four times the amount of light produced by the sun on a clear bright day. However, unlike direct sunlight which produces a sharp shadow resulting in hidden shaded areas, the Luminys SunSource light originates from a broad area (the Omni reflector) resulting in a soft even shadowless light with no shaded areas. Starting with the lamp itself (of which there are eight), the actual light emitting plasma is more than one meter long. The light from the plasma then takes a long round about journey bouncing off several surfaces which scatter and soften the light before it arrives at it final destination. Each system is comprised of multiple lamps. The Omnipresent reflector (patent pending) is actually larger than the 20 by 20 foot region of illumination. This large size allows light to come from an infinite number of sources and be directed into the region of illumination in a smooth even manner. This largely eliminates glare and hot spots while at the same time increases illumination levels in places like wheel wells.
This relatively light weight Omni reflector system can readily be mounted to an overhead I beam track so that it can be positioned over a wide area of interest. Additionally, it can be increased to a larger size such as 30 feet by 30 feet or larger to cover a broader crash site area if need be, or it can be decreased in size and light to accommodate smaller regions of illumination such as a sled.
The Omni Reflector System also takes advantage of Luminys’s proprietary Enhanced Spectrum Long Arc technology, which generates an unprecedented 25,000 to 200,000 watts from each fixture for durations up to 25 seconds. The intensity combined with the multidirectional nature of the light beams allows it to penetrate in and around objects in such a way as to eliminate shadows in areas that otherwise would reproduce poorly. For crash and sled events, this means clearer and sharper images in each frame – the ultimate objective of all image capture technology.
A collateral benefit of the Omni Lighting System is that, because light covers the entire region of interest in a uniform fashion, it is not necessary to alter the alignment of lighting significantly for different set ups. This translates into savings of both time (event setup) and money (installation) since complex motorized rigs with multiple memory positions are no longer necessary.
The improvement of imaging technology in recent years has threatened to render lighting the weak link of automotive safety testing. Yet, when all aspects of a lighting system are treated as candidates for innovation – not only lamps, fixture design and power supplies, but the structures that hold and direct the light as well –lighting technology can actually raise the standard for high speed imaging, instead of struggling to meet it.