The trouble with people, is they don’t respond to risk. Not wholly true, in fact we are very attuned to immediate risk. We understand walking out in front of a car, jumping a red light, breaking the speed limit. We are not good at evaluating delayed risk. Buying Euros now in case the Pound slumps, eating healthy and exercising to increase lifespan, reducing carbon to tackle climate change, installing emergency lighting in case of power cuts.

Getting people to take a delayed risk seriously is near impossible, unless you are talking to the risk averse. Most people just can’t see delayed risk as an understandable outcome. There are too many what ifs.

Speed camera
UK speed camera gives us a warning of the risk of speeding

If I speed, I can avert the short-term risk, fit a GPS camera detector, evaluate what I might hit, or look far enough ahead to see the police car parked on the motorway bridge. I can understand the immediacy of it, I can react as the possible pain is close. The actions I can take are both understandable and easy to balance with the outcomes.
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The route to CEng is not so difficult, but…

When I grew up there were just two sorts of mechanical engineer, the one that worked on your car (often mistitled) and the professional one. That’s a little unfair to car mechanics, but I don’t mean to be. A mechanic is indeed a skilled person, but the term engineer is often attributed to people who don’t deserve it.

“Mechanical engineering is the discipline that applies engineering, physics, and materials science principles to design, analyse, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems” – Wikipedia

Before you throw this aside with derision, hear me out. I, like many designers, feel the skills, experience, and qualifications I hold have been hard earned, perhaps I also benefit from a little talent too, but like many I find lots of young talent snipping at my heels and claiming to be a lighting designer, or indeed a lighting engineer. Often, I get asked why it is anyone can be called a lighting designer and all too often I get asked how anyone who works for a lighting manufacturer can ever claim to be a lighting designer at all. The world it seems is all about claim and counter claim and the rush to the top.

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Artificial intelligence in lighting design

On 4th December 2017 a group of leading thinkers got together to discuss the influence of artificial intelligence on the lighting design community. Called together by Florence Lam, Director & Global Lighting Leader at ARUP, we  and guests from the Society of Light and Lighting, discussed how design would change, how ARUP were already using algorithms to reduce design time, how designers will react to the changes in workplace, and myself, I added thoughts on how there will be huge changes in the way we manufacture not just luminaires, but complete buildings including the building services.

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Bright lights, another headache?

Glare is a wonderful thing; it creates sparkle, glints and artistic flare. On the other hand glare is an awful thing; creating difficulty to see, veiling detail and tiring the eye.

Whether you love it or not depends on the situation, a club compared to the office, relaxing in the sun compared to driving the car. But we have developed measures to try and quantify glare and what the limits should be. UGR, or the unified glare rating, has been around for a long time. No, it’s not perfect. For one thing, how often do you sit, head at 1.2m above the floor, half way along a wall in a rectangular space and look directly across the room. Continue reading “Bright lights, another headache?”