The light from the bulbs looks white, yet contains app-controlled wavelengths that mimic those that occur naturally at sunrise and sunset
Spotted: Researchers from the University of Washington have identified a cell in the retina of the human eye that signals to the brain when it is time to wake and sleep. Named s-cones, the highly sensitive photoreceptor cells react to wavelengths of light found at sunrise and sunset. Having licensed the research to smart lighting company TUO, the world’s first connected circadian lightbulbs are expected to be available from May 2020.
What is significant about the researchers’ finding is the low level of brightness required to kickstart the body’s biological clock. Products currently working with blue wavelengths of light as a means of regulating internal rhythms are much more powerful than the light needed to activate s-cone cells. Blue light products are also less accurate because s-cone cells react to other colours.
TUO’s circadian lightbulb works like a regular white light bulb when not connected to the internet. When connected, the circadian bulbs emit the required wake and sleep wavelengths of light, as directed by the accompanying app. A single exposure of only 50 minutes to the bulb was found to reset the tester’s biological wake up time by 50 minutes. The lightbulbs are available to pre-order in two sizes and cost €53.