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James Dyson’s son built a super-efficient LED light that will last 40 years

On average, the traditional incandescent light bulb boasts a lifespan of about 2,000 hours. At full brightness for twelve hours a day, that equates to just under half a year of use. CFL bulbs are a bit better, at around 10,000 hours of life apiece, whereas LEDs are the current reigning champion of the lighting game with an average of around 50,000 hours. That’s pretty damn good, but inventor/designer Jake Dyson (son of Sir James) has figured out a way to make them even better.

After years of careful engineering, Dyson has managed to create a light that can run for at least 180,000 hours — a full 40 years of shining at full brightness for twelve hours a day. That’s insane, and believe it or not, that’s just the minimum estimate. The bulb runs for so long that they simply haven’t had enough time to determine its maximum lifespan yet.

The bulb, named the “Ariel” suspension light, gets its name from the Ariel 1 satellite — the first British satellite launched into space in 1962. It incorporates the same heat pipe cooling technology that was initially developed to siphon heat away from a satellite’s microprocessors and help it maintain a stable operating temperature in outer space. In Dyson’s LED bulb, this technology allows the device to function at a lower temperature and thereby consume less energy.

Most LED light manufacturers don’t even worry about the heat output of their bulbs, but Dyson realized that any excess heat generated by LEDs –even if it’s not enough to pose a fire hazard– gradually wears down the performance and lifespan of the bulb. To remedy the problem, Ariel incorporates six heat pipes and several fins that work together to quickly remove heat from the light’s core. This cooling system is fundamental to the light’s decades-long lifespan.

Furthermore, because Ariel is designed to last through the ages, Dyson also made sure to make it future proof. Ariel also sports a ZigBee radio under the hood, so you’ll be able to monitor and adjust its electricity consumption remotely via smartphone or tablet.

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Unfortunately, pricing and availability info are scarce at this point, but Dyson’s teaser video does hint that Ariel will be available in both uplight and downlight varieties, and will also come in three different colors. We’ll keep you posted on where you can get your hands on one, but in the interim, you can find out more on Jake Dyson’s website.