Jet-lagged lighting designer takes app idea to next level

THE JET-LAGGED lighting designer whose idea for a new app for connected lighting won a top prize at LuxLive has begun work on the concept with top software engineers.

Senior project designer Gary Thornton, who travels across multiple time zones every month to work on major hospitality projects for neolight, flew to Florida this week to develop the app with the technical team of IoT lighting pioneers Gooee.

The jet-lag app uses dynamic lighting in hotel rooms and offices to speed the recovery process.

‘This idea was borne out of a particular issue that I face, like many others, when travelling overseas for work,’ says Thornton. ‘And that’s jet lag.

'It’s a horrible feeling and pretty much unavoidable when travelling across multiple timezones, which then affects your mood and productivity.  When travelling for work I am often only somewhere for a few days which is not enough time to adjust and be fully alert and focussed for meetings or presentations.

The software engineers worked with Thornton on developing the time-zone algorithm which could calculate the extent of jet lag and how the light could be tuned to reduce it.

‘To combat this my concept is to use connected tuneable white light sources in hotel guest rooms, with a particular focus on business travellers where they don’t have the luxury of a few days to adjust’.

‘My solution is an app on your mobile connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the light fixtures in your hotel room.  As you connect your phone to the hotel Wi-Fi the app synchronises your travel data with the light fixtures, knowing where you’ve come from and where you are’.

‘I’m not talking about filling a hotel room with odd or futuristically-out-of-place light fixtures.  I’m talking about your everyday lamps, downlights, and linear LED strips.  Things that we use all the time in designing the lit environment for hotel rooms, only with a tuneable white LED chip and a bit of Wi-Fi’.

The programmed lighting scenes in the room are adjusted automatically by the app to provide the correct colour temperature and illuminance to give you the right light at the right time and shift your body clock in the correct direction and entrain it to the local time zone.

'It can also synchronise your calendar to influence the lighting.  ‘Say for instance if your meeting is not until lunchtime the next day, then it allows you more time to adjust, whereas if your meeting is at 9am the app will influence the lighting to affect the fastest entrainment against jet lag for you’.

If you have an important presentation during the afternoon the lighting could provide a boost of cooler, blue-rich light to stimulate alertness as you approach this period.  Conversely it would adjust the lighting to the warming red end of the spectrum as you stand in front of the mirror brushing your teeth to avoid melatonin suppression before you go to bed.

The app also has a ‘natural alarm’ feature, softly bringing on the room lighting at a recommended time to suit your schedule and wake you up more naturally the following morning.

Thornton put his idea to a team of industry experts at the LuxLive exhibition last year, and after a series of Dragons’ Den style presentations by shortlisted entrants, was named the winner. Part of his prize was a trip to Gooee’s tech hub in St Petersburg, Florida, to start proof-of-concept work on the app with the software team.

 

 

 

  • Learn more about lighting and heath at the LIghting for Health and Wellbeing conference taking place in London on Wednesday 26 September 2018. For more information and to see the programme, click HERE.