An LED is a light-emitting diode, a versatile source of light. Though they are being used more and more in modern technology today, such as in public and indoor lighting, they originated from their humble beginnings as indicator lights in devices. Indicator lights are lights whose color or “status” conveys a message about the device they are attached to.
Indicator lights are widely seen in society today. For example, LEDs are suited extremely well for traffic lights, as each individual traffic bulb will have two states—an “on” state and an “off” state, where the “on” state conveys the speed at which a driver should go. LED indicator lights are useful in other traffic-related signaling, where simple lights are used to convey important messages. For example, emergency signals, which flash to get people’s attention, are often made with LEDs because of the speed at which LEDs can change “status.”
LED indicator lights are used in personal devices as well. In cars, LEDs can be used to convey any message from the amount of gas left in a tank to the brake or turn signals in the tail lights of a car. Due to their speed and low energy consumption, LEDs can be found all over a car or truck, and one will notice that light signals play an important part in transportation, from traffic signals directing the flow of people and machines to the mechanics of the machine itself.
One will also find many LED indicator lights on smaller personal devices such as laptops and televisions. On these smaller devices, LEDs will typically be used to indicate the status of a certain process—for example, whether the device is charging, powered off, or low on battery, or whether the device is connecting or already connected to a network. Information feedback on these devices is turning more and more to the interactive screen of the device itself, but the indicator lights provided by LEDs are still important in determining the status and stability of the system itself.
LEDs can be used for miscellaneous signaling purposes as well. Because of their low energy drain and versatility, it is easy to adapt or find LEDs that serve as lighted beacons or lanterns, which can be used for a variety of purposes. The usability and accessibility of LED indicator lights make them applicable to many situations.