Light your kitchen the DARPA-approved way

Halogen's out, efficient fiber optics are in. Just ask the Navy, which is testing the award-winning lighting.

Mark Rutherford
The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at markr@milapp.com. Disclosure.
Mark Rutherford
EFO lighting on display at Whole Foods Market Energy Focus

Here's that final touch you've been looking for in the kitchen remodel war with the Joneses: efficient fiber optics (EFO), the "breakthrough in accent lighting technology," could be perfect for your undercounter needs.

You want green? This is the most efficient fiber optic lighting system in the world, according to developer Solon, Ohio based Energy Focus. "One 70 watt EFO lamp delivers the center beam candlepower of eight 50 watt Halogen lamps - replacing a total of 400 watts." The government agrees--it handed out $12.7 million in R&D support and awarded the company a 2007 DARPATech Small Business Innovation Research Award for Excellence.

DARPA calls it a breakthrough technology with the potential to innovate lighting systems across the Department of Defense. The Navy is currently testing Energy Focus technology on two ships at sea, where it expects to save 52,000 kWh a year on one ship alone.

The technology--a patented compound parabolic collector surrounding a 70-watt HID lamp connected to adjustable EFO fixtures via optically pure, U.S.-made, flexible fiber--gives your breakfast bar what retailers call the "power walk" look, without browning out the neighborhood.

These fixtures put out no heat (they're used to light ice sculptures), no IR and no UV, which means they're closet friendly--no fading.

And they're supposedly easy to specify. The fiber comes custom-cut from the factory; you simply plug the illuminator and the fixture into a phone jack-like wall outlet. Check it out: the Energy Focus gallery.