Open Up Lamp expands like a flower when the light bulb turns on

Open up lamp
Promo image Mark Champkins/ Science Museum

There are a couple of lovely and wonderful things about the Open Up Lamp, designed by Mark Champkins, inventor in residence at the Science Museum in London. The first is that there actually is such a thing as an Inventor in Residence. It's a great concept; Mark describes it on his website: "The aim of the residency is to create products and inventions, inspired by the Museum Collections, that spark an interest in Science, Design and Engineering, often incorporating intriguing scientific phenomena or ideas."

Open Up Lamp by Mark Champkins from Mark Champkins on Vimeo.

The second is that this lamp is such a lovely and simple idea, opening up when the light is turned on, and closing when it is switched off, demonstrating the scientific phenomenon that different materials expand and contract at different rates.

The lampshade is made up of polypropylene "petals" and six bi-metallic strips which are activated by the heat emitted by a bulb. Bi-metallic strips are a sandwich of copper and steel. When heated, the copper expands more than the steel causing the strip to bend.

The only not so lovely thing is that it needs a 90 watt "energy saving" halogen bulb to generate enough heat to generate enough heat to make the six bimetal strips open up. In a world where you can get the same number of lumens out of a ten buck LED that burns 10 watts, those halogens shouldn't be labelled "energy saving" any more. It's too bad Mark didn't come up with this ten years ago; it would have warmed my heart as well as my living room.

Buy it at the Science Museum in London and stock up on bulbs.

Open Up Lamp expands like a flower when the light bulb turns on
Although it may be an idea whose time has past.

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