From Vegas’ Newest Attraction to Vehicle Displays, LEDs Make a Bright Impact

July 14, 2023 by Jake Hertz

LEDs have come a long way from their first commercial form in the 60s. Now, this lighting technology is illuminating the driving experience and enabling stunning attractions in the world's flashiest city.

LEDs and lighting, in general, have become an integral part of making electronics more immersive and visually appealing—from high-resolution displays on smartphones to more aesthetic vehicle interiors. 

The power of LEDs was recently put on display with the emergence of the Las Vegas Sphere. A dazzling display of lighting technology, the Sphere highlights the world’s growing demand for LEDs and the subsequent innovation that emerged to exaggerate such a seemingly commonplace technology.


Cross-section rendering of the Las Vegas Sphere

Cross-section rendering of the Las Vegas Sphere, displaying both the atrium inside the structure and the outer bowl. Image used courtesy of Sphere Entertainment/CNN Travel

Juxtaposing this spectacular use case is another recent LED announcement—this one from Rohm Semiconductor. The Japanese manufacturer recently released an RGB LED chip for automotive interiors said to minimize color variations that can result from color mixing. 

By analyzing these two vastly different applications side by side, we can discuss broad trends in LED development, both on a large scale and at the circuit level. 


The Las Vegas Sphere

The Las Vegas Sphere, also known as the MSG Sphere, is a brand-new entertainment venue in Nevada that offers a grandiose display of LED technology. Standing at a towering height of 366 feet, this architectural marvel’s exterior is decorated with a staggering 1.2 million LEDs spread across a 580,000-square-foot panel. These LEDs are grouped in arrays of 48 LEDs, each of which is housed in pucks spaced eight inches apart from one another. Each diode is capable of displaying 256 million different colors, allowing for an array of animations and displays. 


Construction on the MSG Sphere commenced in 2019

Construction on the MSG Sphere commenced in 2019. Image used courtesy of Adobe Stock (licensed)

The Sphere's use of LEDs doesn't stop at its exterior. Inside, it houses a 16 K wraparound LED screen, providing an immersive viewing experience for the 18,000 spectators it can accommodate. With this size screen, reports indicate that the Sphere is the world’s largest video screen. This combination of interior and exterior LED displays makes the Sphere a unique venue that offers new levels of immersion and entertainment to its viewers.


Rohm Releases RBG LED Chip

In contrast to the Sphere's ostentatious use of LEDs, Rohm Semiconductor announced how it has designed unique RGB LED chip technology for a sector more familiar to everyday users: automotive interiors.

The new product, dubbed the SMLVN6RGBFU1(C), was built to offer new levels of control and precision over the wavelength and brightness of the RGB elements. The product features enhanced color-mixing capabilities said to reduce color variations and lead to more precise displays. According to Rohm, these features are possible because of a vertically-integrated production system and a chromaticity simulation system that sets adjustment coefficients to calibrate the LED’s color toward the desired target.


Rohm’s new RGB LED

Rohm’s new RGB LED offers immunity to traditional color mixing issues. Image used courtesy of Rohm Semiconductor

According to the product datasheet, the chip features a peak forward current of 100 mA, a nominal forward current of 50 mA (red), and a total power dissipation of 400 mW. With these specs and an AEC-Q102 qualification, Rohm envisions the new RGB LED finding application in instrument clusters, status indicators, and accent lighting for footwells and door handles.



How have you seen LED or other lighting technology evolve during your career? Share your experiences in the comments below.