Helux Lighting Inc. Formed to Commercialize Research Funded by the NSF

Achievement date: 

Jessica Morrison, a PhD alumnus of the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems & Applications (LESA), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) headquartered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), formed Helux Lighting Inc. to commercialize research into using shaped-light technologies to realize energy efficiency, convenience, and aesthetic goals in architectural lighting. 


Thecompany is using micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) to shape light with a patent-pending, lotus-shaped mirror that can tilt, tip, focus, and piston. These low-cost devices can be integrated into consumer lighting products for greater field control, a feature with applications for personalizing light for health, productivity, and energy efficiency uses.


A key cornerstones of LESA’s vision is to develop ‘shaped light’ for technologies that can provide dynamic and more precise control of light distribution. The MEMS micro-mirrors can steer a beam of reflected light by applying a voltage. The tiny mirrors steer light faster than the human eye can detect, and facilitate rapid control over light position, brightness, and the area covered by the illumination.

The ERC provided the first demonstration of a low-cost method to dynamically control the profile and directionality of a light fixture using standard CMOS procedures. The technology Helux has commercialized from the ERC’s research offers a tenfold reduction in size and far lower cost than existing mechanical systems for light control, such as projectors that use a scanning system to “paint” a picture with light.

Helux’s technology transfer of the ERC research to the private sector is another success story of the Center’s contributions to the field of creating directed, energy-efficient, low-cost lighting systems.