General Electric recently announced their new line of LED Edge lighting fixtures. These new ceiling lights can be suspended from ceilings or recessed flush with surrounding ceiling tiles. The first version of the LED Edge lights, a square "troffer" fixture design for recessed lighting, is expected to be available by the end of 2011. For the more aesthetically minded, stylish suspended fixtures should be available in the first half of 2012.
The Edge fixtures are comprised of coin-size LEDs covered by a textured optical screen made by PC memory manufacturer Rambus. I don't know what PC RAM has to do with textured optical screens, but apparently Rambus does. The purpose of the texture is to spread the light from the LEDs fully across the screen. GE has said that these lights will also be capable of focusing on specific areas.
GE plans to market the LED fixtures as more aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting than conventional overhead fluorescent lighting. The Edge LED lights will have a CRI over 80 with an estimated lifetime of 35,000 hours. At 12 hours of use per day, these lights will last about eight years; compare that to fluorescent ceiling lights, which generally have a lifetime of around 20,000 hours. That's almost a 50% increase in lifetime!
Further benefits of the Edge LED lighting systems are the standard advantages of LEDs over fluorescents. These advantages include a complete lack of toxic chemicals like mercury and lead, as well as the absence of glass. The materials comprising the Edge lighting systems will be recyclable. GE will face competition from LED maker Cree, which recently announced its own line of ceiling LED lights.