Seasonal affective disorder is a very real phenomenon, and it can seriously mess with your head. In extreme situations, it can be crippling or even fatal. CoeLux, though, has a solution, and it involves a “skylight” with a clever idea.
Soak Up The Sun
It’s not a true skylight, of course. That’d be worse than useless in many places where seasonal affective disorder is epidemic. No, instead, it’s an LED system with some intelligent, clever design. It perfectly imitates the light streaming into a building through a skylight on a beautiful day, even if you happen to be deep underground or in a place that’s freezing cold.
How does it pull that off? Trickily, to be honest. Part of the reason sunlight looks the way it does is how light scatters through the atmosphere, called the Rayleigh effect. But that, of course, has miles of atmosphere to scatter through; the team that engineered this light had to use nano-structured materials to get the same scatter.
Oh, and they also needed to deliver a system that would look, realistically, like the sun in the sky and have the light move naturally and realistically throughout the day. So there was that challenge. Did we mention they also had to angle the light so it was realistic to the area the window would be placed in as well?
Currently, this is more a concept than a consumer product. As you might expect, it’s almost ridiculous in how expensive it is. But it seems like the kind of idea that will rapidly get traction. Preventing season affective disorder is something we, as a society, throw a lot of money at, and installing these in underground spaces such as train stations will make life a lot happier. Plus, they’re neat, and who doesn’t like neat?
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.