This issue we are turning our attention to lighting. Like everything in the yachting industry, innovation is key and one of the newest and brightest concepts on the block is Viberlight, developed by Versalume and brought to you by Applelec Yachts, the makers of custom yacht luxury lettering.
Versalume have developed smart, integrated products and solutions with Corning® Fibrance® Light-Diffusing Fiber. They have partnered with designers and industry pioneers to rapidly prototype new product uses for their lighting technology. They currently have active engagements in many industries including automotive, architecture, consumer electronics, wearables, and medical markets and are now turning their attention to the yachting industry.
The fibre optics are long, thin and flexible, having a 1.7mm core that is only 2.3mm when clad. This gives it the possibility to bend, curve and wrap around the smallest of circumferences, whilst emitting vibrant and uniform light at lengths of up to 50 metres. Far longer than traditional LED fibre optics. Nanostructures are incorporated into the glass optical fibre core during manufacturing that scatters light very predictably and uniformly in all directions.
They have a broad-spectrum ambient lighting capability from UV to visible to infrared, across a wide range of colours, and can be programmed to be changed remotely via an app, movement or sound. This gives yacht owners the flexibility to create any mood they desire. The portable and rechargeable battery and Bluetooth solutions means easy installation and usability.
Applelec Yachts are already working with several superyachts to switch out the old LED lighting and refit it with Viberlight. Darren Thrower, International Project Director at Applelec Yachts and key advocate of the new Viberlight technology sat me down for a demonstration and, despite it being broad daylight, and a particularly sunny day in Palma, the vibrancy of the light emitted was still impressive if not a little mesmerising. Darren also explained that it is also possible to multiply the number of fibre optics running through the cladding in order to make it brighter still.
He says the application for boats is going to be key for a number of reasons. Firstly the sheer length that you can use without a break is about ten times as long as with traditional LEDs; secondly, these fibre optics cannot be damaged by heat or water, again, unlike traditional LEDs who can be seriously compromised by both. Last but certainly not least, the maintenance and upkeep of them is as simple as it gets. Should something go wrong, instead of a lengthy and expensive process of repairing the individual LED sections, you simply remove the laser, from an easy to access, internal station, and fit it with a new one. With each laser approximately the size of a pen top, repair is really simple.
It is true that the initial installation cost is a little higher than the current favoured format, however, the cost saving over the duration of the boat’s life, including sourcing replacements, lengthy refits and time without lighting is enormous.
Viberlight is already being used in some seriously innovative ways such as art installations, especially of note was the Amsterdam Light Festival (Nov 2017-Jan 2018) where “Thin Line” was created by Ai Weiwei, where nearly 7km of lighted fibre was strung along Amsterdam’s canals! It has also been integrated into cars, baseball caps, knitted into fabrics, used for underwater lighting for reconnaissance and recovery, and it is now being integrated into military applications such as camouflage (think the invisible car in James Bond).
The applications of this remarkably versatile light source are never-ending and we can already see it becoming a trend in the yachting industry, whether on new builds, refits, externally or in the interior. Who knows maybe even the crew uniforms will be lit up some time in the future…
For more information or to see how it’s currently being used contact:
Darren Thrower –
International Project Director
+34 678 346 656
or check out the Versalume Instagram page