questionswhat recent technological or design advances haveā€¦

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Incidentally, we're talking about bedside desk lamps here, not the big ol' floor lamps as much. That should help.

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ikea sells a solar reading lamp http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90154371
they used to also offer to send one to UNICEF for each one purchased. i actually don't recommend it though, i have issues with mine
they sell other solar lamp products too http://www.ikea.com/us/en/search/?query=solar

i like this one which can play your ipod plus wake you up with increasingly brighter light
http://www.overstock.com/Health-Beauty/Philips-Sounds-FM-Radio-and-iPod-iPhone-Dock-Wake-up-Light/5608494/product.html

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I use one that has multiple LED's. Plenty of light, low power use and virtually no heat to speak of.

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I just saw one that jumps around and plays with a ball!

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My daughter has one from Ikea (five? years old) with a screw on clamp and flexible gooseneck. When the bulb went, I replaced it with an LED bulb ("bright as a regular 40 watt bulb")... it is just as bright and cool to the touch. The bub was almost $20 but should last a long long time.

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Honestly, this is my reading lamp of choice lately:

http://www.amazon.com/Petzl-E49P-TacTikka-4-LED-Headlamp/dp/B0007Q3R3E/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1309962971&sr=8-5

You don't need to worry about sitting up so the book is properly lit, the batteries last a really really long time, there are multiple levels of brightness, and the option of the red tint is great for the eyes at night (and won't bother others around you). It is definitely something to consider...