The search for a consistent lighting solution that could be readily altered by the end-user led designer Jin Choi, a principal of Boston-based Choi+Shine Architects, to develop Bit Light, a three-dimensional system of modular LED tubes. With fellow principal Thomas Shine, AIA, Choi devised magnetic ends that allow the tubes to connect in installations that are both functional and decorative, and that can be added to or subtracted from as space needs change.
"The pill form ... allows the intermediate connectors to be small, which minimizes their visibility, and for multiple Bits to connect to the same connector," Choi said in an email. "Furthermore, the curvilinear surface softens the Bits' form while emphasizing the closed geometry of each Bit, so that each [one] has a reading both as an individual unit and as part of a whole assembly. "
Each module outputs 460 lumens of omni-directional light, filtered by a rounded, translucent polycarbonate shell that measures 6 7/8" long and 1 1/4" in diameter. The magnetic ends work duly to link the tubes and to transfer power through the system from a wall- or ceiling-mounted terminal. Batteries located within each unit are also available as an alternative power source. In application, the connectors can hold about 15 units vertically as well as three units horizontally on both sides, Choi said, with each unit weighing 7 oz., or less than half a pound. An insulated cap is offered to shield the connectors, whose active element is concealed due to the system's push-in installation.
So far, only 90-degree connections are possible, but Choi says the team has patented additional shapes and colors for the tubes as well as connectors that allow for non-orthogonal and adjustable angles. According to the project’s website, the combination of seven modules and six connectors offers more than 15,000 installation variations.
The system has not yet been submitted for technical or safety approvals, but Choi says initial inquiries from designers and commercial installers in Germany and the U.S. indicate market interest in the technology.
This article has been updated with additional information.