Seeing winter in another light

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We are all familiar with it – the yearning for the first rays of spring. The pleasant feeling of nodding off on the deck chair in the warming sun. The disappointment when the weather is not as nice as we would like. There is no question that sunlight influences how we feel. But how?

The effect of sunlight

Lack of light makes us feel tired and defeated. This is because light steers our biological clock and influences whether we are awake, rested and strong, how we sleep and when we wake up. In 2002 researchers discovered the biological effect of light on our body. In our eyes there are ganglioin cells, receptors which, contrary to cones and rods, do not help us see but rather contain the photopigment melanopsin, which reacts to blue light. These cells are directly wired to the brain where they are connected to the master clock, which coordinates the interior clock of our body. Evenly distributed over the retina and especially sensitive, melatonin makes us tired, decelerates our bodies and prepares us for the evening’s rest. Morning light has a high percentage of blue light and suppresses the production of melanopsin – the body regroups and we wake up refreshed and motivated. By the way, it it’s the other way around, a lot of artificial blue light such as that from fluorescent tubes at night can throw off our rhythm and we have trouble falling asleep and sleeping, and feel tired the next day.

More light

The consequence, of course, is that a lack of light makes us listless. This especially gets to us in the winter months, because our interior clock is out of sync. We can work against this with artificial light, using sunlight as a basis. The key words are dynamic light. Firstly the light should reach the eyes similar to out in the open, extensively from above in order to reach as many receptors in our eyes as possible. The color of the light should furthermore be adapted to the color temperature of natural daylight – more percentage of blue in the morning and less percentage of blue in the evening. Invigorating in the morning, bright for periods of concentration, and warm-white in the evenings so that we end our workday relaxed and drive peacefully home. Many research projects are currently working on such light concepts and will soon contribute to making our lives at the desk and at school more pleasant.

Light in the kitchen, the car and above the clouds

Light is also an important issue when cooking, because it opens entirely new ways to operate our stoves. What was previously knobs is today illuminated function displays with different colors and which assist us in intuitive operation. Black SCHOTT CERAN® glass-ceramic, to a certain degree, allows LED displays to shine through within the entire color spectrum visible to the eye, and our transparent glass-ceramic is even more transparent. Another SCHOTT innovation is a light system that will appear in our future mobility: sidelights with LED. When cars in the future automatically take us to our destinations, we will have time for other things, such as reading, writing emails or simply relaxing. This light concept not only fulfills our needs, but is also a sure thing, because fiber optics conducts only light – entirely without electricity. Find out more here. Or on your next flight, how about a starry sky to look at above you on the airplane ceiling? A nice idea? Then take a look here. It is the bright future in air transportation.

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