Sapphire Industry Watch – June 26

  • These LED skydivers turned the sky into a piano – Red Bull: In arguably their coolest stunt yet, the Red Bull Skydive Team fell 4,000m in complete darkness and turned the sky into their dance floor. Wired with LEDs, the wingsuits worn by the skydivers were choreographed to the music of Camo & Krooked, and the final video is nothing less than adrenaline-pumping.
  • Warsaw National Museum preserves art while enhancing mood with tunable lighting – LEDs Magazine: In an effort to preserve historic artworks while displaying them in optimum lighting conditions, the Warsaw National Museum has upgraded its lighting system to include LED spotlights with tunable white-point correlated color temperature (CCT). With its vast collection of over 800,000 pieces, the museum is already seeing a reduction in energy use, while still being able to display the works in the highest quality light.
  • Mini demos street lights that also charge your car – Gizmag: As part of Low Carbon Oxford Week in the UK, Mini showcased a new system called “Light and Charge” that would allow electric vehicle (EV) drivers to charge their vehicles from street lights. The units would employ a modular LED design that is more energy-efficient than conventional street lighting and drives would simply need to connect their vehicle and swipe a credit card to begin charging.
  • LED lighting could help with sleep patterns – Electronics Weekly: According to wake-sleep pattern research conducted by the University of Manchester, the changing balance between blue and yellow when the sun rises and sets affects the wakefulness of mammals. As humans’ reactions to the color spectrum continues to become more understood, LED luminaires could be designed to produce custom responses – more wakeful in the morning and sleepier in the evening, for example.

LEDs, Sleep and SAD –Innovations in Light

Philips Wake Up Light

Philips Wake Up Light

In the past, most people just bought light bulbs without a thought. It was simply about light. There weren’t many extra considerations. Today’s lighting purchase might be made with intelligent applications and even therapeutic reasons in mind, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Light can help prevent or lessen the symptoms of SAD. According to WebMD, as many as 3% of Americans can suffer from SAD in the winter. When people are exposed to less natural light they may develop depression and anxiety, oversleep, and even have difficulty concentrating. Some people who live in extreme areas that depend on artificial light during long winter months without sunlight can use artificial light derived from LED light bulbs for some SAD relief.

Until now, most SAD sufferers needed special light boxes for SAD-related light therapy. LEDs are a natural light therapy source. Light from almost all LEDs used for lighting, displays and even TVs tend to naturally skew towards the blue part of the spectrum. Blue light stimulates a photoreceptor in the eye that reduces the production of the hormone melatonin and helps people stay awake.

LED lighting companies have begun to leverage blue light for those with seasonal disorders and even sleep issues.

Philips tackled the issue of the lack of light during polar winter in a town in the Arctic, Longyearbyen, Svalbard, where they experience dark for four months straight. Longyearbyen is the northernmost town in the world with 2,000 inhabitants (outnumbered by 3,000 polar bears). For two months, 186 volunteers used the Philips Wake-up Light for a study.  Already proven to work in a number of independent clinical studies, the Philips Wake-up Light was used to help wake up the volunteers with gradually increasing LED light prior to the alarm.

After using the Philips Wake-up Light for six weeks during the polar winter, 87% of residents said that they wake up feeling more refreshed, alert and ready for the day. Philips reported that 98% of residents said they would continue to use the Philips Wake-up Light rather than their previous method of waking up.  You can see a video about the experiment here.

Philips also has designed Philips goLITE BLU to help stave off the winter blues. The goLITEBLU provides the right level of blue light to help regulate a body’s clock and improve mood and energy levels. It is more efficient than traditional white light boxes, producing more concentrated light in a considerably smaller form factor.

For those challenged to wake up without hitting the snooze button repeatedly, there’s the Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light that leverages both music and light to wake you up.  Here’s a link to an entertaining review written by a snooze button addict from Gizmodo.

Lighting Science’s Awake and Alert LED lamp brings more blue light to help people stay awake, while the company’s Good Night light reduces the blue light to help people sleep. The company also has designed the Rhythm Downlight with an app that can keep a sleep schedule for shift workers, those in extra long nights in cold climates and even those in space. The app syncs up with a specially designed digital LED light bulb. When it’s time to begin waking, the bulb will emit more blue light to help you wake up. But when it’s time go to sleep, the percentage of blue light is reduced, turning on your melatonin so you can sleep.

For Further Reading

Discover Magazine, Smart Bulb Helps You Sleep and Wake on Schedule,

The New York Times, LEDs Change Thinking about the Light Bulb,

Philips, Philips Wake Up the Town,

Philips, Wake up the Town: Arctic Experiment Results,

Gizmodo, A Light-Up Alarm Completely Changed My Life,

The Business Standard, Lights are no longer just for lighting,