Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


LUMENTILE Report Summary

Project ID: 644902
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LUMENTILE (LUMinous ElectroNic TILE)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

LUMENTILE is a three-year, ~€3 million project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research frame program. LUMENTILE is focused on developing a disruptive new construction element to be used by designers and architects: a ceramic luminous and electronic tile.
Each tile will be made of ceramic with embedded electronic circuits and semiconductor high-efficiency LED light sources, and will have the capability of changing color at the will of the user.
The luminous tiles can be installed like normal tiles, and can be deployed in private houses, public spaces, indoor or outdoor installations, for architectural design projects. Each luminous tile can also be used as a single pixel for giant video installations (e.g.: tiles with single pixel size of 10cm x 10cm can make a video of 60m x 48m size, with 0.3Mpixel resolution, for permanent installations on building facades without need for further specific maintenance).
The luminous tiles will be installed using a specially developed electrical interconnection and retaining system, so that all the tiles are electrically connected to each other, and can exchange information.
LUMENTILE envisages designers and architects exploiting the intrinsic ability of the device to display lights, colours and images for both exterior and interior design and lighting. Not only could the tiles be used in and outside shopping malls, airports and skyscrapers, but also for simple household illumination, where ambitious colour and video effects would be replaced by a focus on luminous efficiency and ease of installation.
Tiles are equipped with embedded sensors, for example a pressure sensor capable of detecting the presence of person standing or walking on a floor tile. In this way, ‘smart floor panels’ can be realize, that recognise when an elderly user is no longer standing or has perhaps fallen, or in security situations where a floor will be sensitive to intruders, or in shopping centres where a ‘dynamic luminous path’ can be created to direct shoppers to a particular store.
Prototype of luminous tiles are being constructed, and will later be used in 3 demonstrators of large size to be installed in selected public spaces in European cities, to disseminate the novelty of the LUMENTILE products and reach potential customers and end-users.
This is the first time someone tries to embed electronics into ceramics for a large-scale application. LUMENTILE also aims at developing a technology and fabrication process that can yield large quantities reliably, repeatedly and at a reasonable cost, thus providing the backbone needed to commercialize the luminous tile and to foster European production industry growth. Commercialization will start a few months after the project's end, in 2018.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

"In its first 18 months, the LUMENTILE Project has posed the basis for the industrial development of the luminous tile.
First, the technical and engineering specifications for the LUNENTILE products have been defined, by taking into account the needs of the end-users and those of the designers/architects that will use and install the LUMENTILE.
The luminous tile will be made of three different layers, that will then be sandwiched together.
The bottom ceramic layer has the goal of giving the tile mechanical strength and of embedding the driving and control electronic circuits. The best solutions to create the bottom ceramic layer with holes and trenches for hosting the electronics have been investigated.
The intermediate layer is the intelligent and luminous core of the tile. Smart electronic components have been selected and arranged into a proper configuration to realize the control of the tile, and to manage the tile-to-tile communication. High-efficiency electronic circuits have been developed to supply electrical power to the LED, and emit light of changing color and intensity with the least possible waste of energy.
A new technology for printing large-area electronic circuits directly on a low-cost and flexible substrate such as PET (i.e., the same material that makes plastic bottles and acetate slides for overhead projectors) has been developed and optimized.
Light emission is achieved by using state-of-the-art, high-power, high-efficiency, commercial semiconductor LEDs (light emission diodes), or newly developed Organic LEDs (OLEDs). As LEDs emit light from a point-like source, light management technologies and know-how have been developed to obtain the most uniform illumination of the tile as possible. OLEDs printed on flexible PET substrate have also been developed. This low-cost technology, that intrinsically generate a uniform illumination over a large area, will be ready in 3-4 years for large-scale commercial deployment.
For the top layer of the tile different materials have been considered, by taking into consideration that this will be the finishing layer in contact with the users and possibly with harsh environment (i.e., direct sunlight, rain, freezing, pressure, mechanical shocks). Translucent ceramic, glass and polycarbonate have been selected as materials for the top layer.
A proprietary new tile-to-tile communication protocol has been developed and demonstrated using a mock-up, implementing an algorithm for automatic configuration of the tiles, which includes the determination of the actual shape and arrangement of the installed tiles (e.g., standard rectangular layout, or irregular configurations like those including ""holes"" for windows, doors, etc.). The whole tile system can be controlled from the outside by a single entry-point, i.e. a single tile that communicates with the outer world (by Wifi or USB connection). Then, the signals for the configuration and operation of each tile (color, intensity) will automatically distributed to each tile."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Progress beyond the state-of-the-art has been achieved in many of the research areas targeted so far by the LUMENTILE Project.
New advances on the efficient use of a single LED driver to drive at the same time multiple RGB (red, Green, Blue) individual pixels have been demonstrated.
Concerning light management (i.e., the diffusion over the whole tile surface of the point-like light emitted by the LEDs), novel techniques based on low-cost processes have been experimented, aiming at low-cost production for the very large areas that will be needed after the mass production will start.
The tile-to-tile communication protocol developed so far represents an innovation with respect to known algorithms for auto-configuration of individual intelligent terminals.
The potential impact of the LUMENTILE project is high, because it is an application-driven and product-driven Project, where the Research and Development effort is aimed at finding technologies and solutions to allow the manufacturing of the new LUMENTILE products over very large scales at reasonable costs, so as to make a market success out of this idea.
If all the LUMENTILE goals will be achieved, it is expected that European industry will add a new disruptive product to its portfolio, increasing employment and fostering economic and social growth through the positive fall-outs of the Project results. It is expected that large-scale production can start a few months after the completion of the Project, in 2018.

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