Human-centric lighting represents a new way of using light in our lives, but it is understandable that there is some skepticism over its use and its effectiveness. But do we know enough about the technology to be using it in schools?
The picture is certainly a muddy one and something that we, at LuxLive, would like to try and resolve. The talk 'Are we experimenting on school children?' will take place at 13:30 on the first day of LuxLive in the Lux Arena. The panel will include Katharina Wulff of Oxford University and Dan Lister of Arup.
There has been a great deal of research over the period of the last twenty years on the subject of lighting and its effect on circadian rhythms. Today researchers know much more about the function of the eye and the brain than they did twenty years ago.
However, Dr. Wulff notes in advance of her talk, ‘we still don’t understand enough about the neurological effects of light on brain functions in humans,’ but adds that the use of human-centric lighting in schools gives us ‘the opportunity to make the technology even better.’
Some wonder if that given the general mood of any classroom will vary and the individual behaviour of students will change, surely finding a human centric system that suits everyone will be a fool's errand?
There are also some concerns regarding side effects that need to be considered. ‘Certain ranges of wavelengths and high intensities may cause problems,’ Dr.Wulff told Lux Magazine.
‘Headaches may cause a problem and glasses wearers may see colour distortions. The changing hues of coloured fabrics and pictures also may affect visual ability for some.’
The talk will also consider how human centric lighting can develop in the future.
‘Schools need work together, in cooperation with the lighting industry,’ Dr.Wulff added. ‘Educational institutions also need to work with neurologists and ophthalmologists to undertake comparative studies.’
More and more human-centric lighting installations are being installed in schools though, such as this one in Malmo, Sweden, which was aimed at improving pupil performance. The human centric system replaced a fluorescent lighting scheme, a change that pupils claim has improved their concentration, making them feel more alert throughout the school day.
'Are we experimenting on school children?' will take place at 13:30 on the first day of LuxLive in the Lux Arena. The session will feature video from the Lindeborg school in Malmo, Sweden, mentioned above and a panel discussion will follow where experts take sides in the debate. Panelists include Katharina Wulff of Oxford University and Dan Lister of Arup.