By Kat Kerlin, UC Davis Strategic Communications environmental writer

In most classes, coursework involves sitting in front of a computer. But students in professor Michael Siminovitch’s “Design with Light” class are hard at play. They’re using their hands and their imaginations to devise what could become the next big thing in lighting.

It’s just a few weeks to the California Lighting Technology Center’s 11th annual Luminaire Design Competition, in which classmates compete against each other to create a luminaire from a lighting kit contributed by a partner in the lighting industry.

This year, the kits contain organic light-emitting diodes from Acuity Brands. OLEDs are thin, lightweight, dimmable, cool to the touch and energy-efficient. Many in the industry consider this emerging technology the future of lighting.

“Literally, the future is happening in this class,” says Siminovitch, director of CLTC at UC Davis and a professor in the Department of Design. “All the ways we light spaces — in our hospitals, residential housing and commercial business — it will all be this type of lighting.”

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