Lumapad-2-224x137LED lighting has come a long way in the past 10 years. While many professionals stayed away from LEDs when they were an emergent technology (despite the fact that LEDs offered some very distinct advantages over traditional lighting technologies), you would be hard-pressed to find a current set without at least a few battery-powered units being used as accent lights. However, LEDs still aren't ubiquitous, and in most cases they haven't supplanted more traditional sources such as tungsten fresnels and PARs due to the fact that they have relatively low output and are comparatively harsh in the quality of their light. The Lumapad, an open source LED Kickstarter project from inventor Richard Haberkern, looks to change all of that. Check out his Kickstarter video for the Lumapad below:

Here are a few of the key features of the Lumapad:

  • Ultra Bright 8000 lumen output via 32 individual CREE LEDs.
  • Draws only 88 watts at full power.
  • 6400 Kelvin (bright white daylight) color temperature.
  • Dual color temperature LEDs available (6400K / 3200K 16 per channel).
  • WiFi enabled via the Electric IMP SD card module.
  • User programmable Arduino (Atmel) compatible micro controller.
  • Dual channel PWM dimming circuits with an additional analog dimmer.
  • Up, Down and Mode buttons are user programmable.
  • Adjustable light stand mount included.
  • Lower cost 16 LED, 4000 Lumen model will also be available.
  • Can be powered by standard 12 - 24 Volt DC battery packs too.

The Lumapad offers a number of features which make it stand out from most of the other LED panels on the market, the most significant of which is its output. At 8000 lumens, the Lumapad offers an output comparable to a 500 watt tungsten head with less than 1/5th of the power consumption. While there are other companies making higher output LED lighting solutions, these lights come in at upwards of ten times the price of the Lumapad. Another feature that has me excited for the Lumapad is the fact that it uses fewer high-powered LEDs as opposed to many other LED lighting solutions which use can use hundreds of smaller LEDs. The larger LEDs on the Lumapad should, in theory, provide a softer light and a more even spread than the lights with hundreds of smaller bulbs.

Another great feature of the Lumapad is its ability to interface with any internet-enabled device, as well as other Lumapads. Add to this the fact that the software can be fully customized, and the possibilities for unique lighting effects (effects that would have been incredibly expensive with past technologies) are endless. It seems that the uses for this device will only be limited by the user's imagination, ingenuity, and the ability to write the code.

Here are a couple of videos that show how versatile the Lumapad can be with various flicker programming:

It's exciting to see this type of innovation with a light at this price point. What used to take four or five different lights and an expensive flicker box can now be done with an LED light and an iPhone. Beyond these effects, the Lumapad even has the potential to replace more traditional lights on sets due to its high output and the infinite control that the user has over the light. The only thing that we have yet to find out at this point is how the quality of the light will compare to other lighting technologies.

What do you guys think? Does the Lumapad change the way you think about LED lighting? Are you excited about the user-programmable functionality of this light? Let us know in the comments.