LED Lighting Health Benefits

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Earlier this month at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, the Rensselear Polytechnic Institute’s Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center demonstrated a personal light measurement system that will assist in accurately monitoring the body’s circadian rhythm. Designed for Google Glass, the prototype captures an individual’s light exposure and biometric signals, then sends this information to an Android app. The app then provides information that will help the individual achieve better sleep cycles, in turn leading to improved overall health and productivity. This project is the latest of many to explore LED lighting health benefits.

So what do LED lights have to do with this? Among all light sources, LEDs are unique in that they can be tuned to control light direction, color temperature, and overall illuminance. LEDs thus play a key role in so-called “human-centric lighting”, which examines lighting exposure as a means to address modern health issues. This is particularly relevant given the ever-increasing amount of time we spend indoors, not to mention the fact that many in the Northern Hemisphere live with little to no sunlight each winter.

Imagine this: you live in northern Sweden, where prolonged periods without daylight turn you into a depressed, grumpy, unproductive mess. Along comes a device that measures your personal light intake each day, then automatically tells your home lighting system how much and what sort of light your body needs to function properly. Sounds like science fiction, right? Check out RPI’s Healthy Home Project in Sweden.

According to a report published in part by LightingEurope, the use of human-centric lighting helps improve sleep, increase productivity, accelerate healing and even prevent some chronic diseases. LEDs promise to play a central part in this exciting new field of research, and it will be interesting to see where this takes us in 2014 and beyond.

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