Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sunn app tunes biological clock when indoors

Steve Rogerson
November 3, 2015
A lighting app that helps people improve their sleep at night and alertness during the day by keeping the body's biological clock, or 24-hour cycle (circadian rhythm), aligned with the natural cycle of lighting is available from Chicago-based IoT company Sunn.
The app supports circadian rhythm alignment by automatically tuning the colour and brightness of indoor lighting to be in sync with sunlight outside during the day and warm firelight at night. Proprietary biological clock algorithms provide control for any location, time of year and time of day.
The app works with Philips Hue for iOS and Android, LIFX for iOS and Apple HomeKit-enabled smart lights. It is available worldwide in both the App Store and Google Play Store.
“We believe everyone deserves healthy and comfortable lighting,” said John Ciecholewski, chief executive officer and co-founder of Sunn. “From the home to the small office, Sunn provides the right dose of light at the right time. The app is sleek, easy to use, and works with tons of lighting brands.”
The Sunn app is said to invigorate the indoors with comfortable bioactive lighting for the home or small office. In the morning, Sunn makes smart lights rise with the sun, gradually brightening and changing colour to foster wakefulness and assist the body’s natural suppression of melatonin. During the day, the lights track the sun and slowly become cooler to promote alertness. As the day winds down, the lights become warmer and bring the setting sun indoors. At night, the Sunn app slowly adjusts the lights to emanate the calming glow of firelight, a biological indicator that prepares the body for rest and promotes the body's night-time production of melatonin.
“Sunn is an app that makes your lights tell time,” said Kelton Minor, chief design research officer and co-founder of Sunn. “It connects your smart lighting to the natural rhythm of daylight outside and provides gentle cues to signal the time of day to your body, helping you to make the most of your day and prepare for rest at night.”
Benefits include facilitating wakefulness in the morning, promoting alertness during the day, supporting relaxation at night, reducing late night light disruption, and helping regulate circadian rhythm. Users can also impress their friends with simulated sunsets and sunrises.
Sunn Sync automatically syncs indoor lights with sunlight to promote circadian alignment and help regulate a balanced sleep-wake cycle. Background Sync keeps lights synced with the sun even when the app is in the background. Moonlight Shake lets users shake the phone to provide just the right amount of light to get around late at night while preserving night vision. Light Travel helps users prepare to travel to a new destination or adjust to the current location. It can change lights to match the light cycle for any location in the world.
Users can also escape the winter blues as they can adjust lights to any time of year or any time of day.
The app works with iPhone 4s or newer, iPad third generation or newer, or iPod touch fifth generation or newer. It requires iOS 7.0 or later and 27.8Mbyte hard drive space.
Located in Chicago, Sunn was founded in 2013 by a team from Cornell University on a mission to improve the quality of life through light.

• Belgium-based Lucimed has introduced the Luminette, a light therapy device developed after four years of university research and clinical trials. It is a wearable light therapy device providing relief from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), sleep disorders and circadian rhythm issues caused by jet lag and shift work.

Unlike traditional light therapy devices, which require users to remain stationary in front of a lightbox, Luminette is worn like a pair of glasses that sit just above the eyes. It can be worn around the house or at work. Twenty minutes per day is enough to treat and prevent issues during months when sunlight is reduced.

There's also a Luminette app that generates biological clock re-phasing programmes based on algorithms developed by the chronotherapist Roland Pec. These programmes include all known chronobiological tools: light exposure, avoidance of light, taking melatonin, sleep, and so on.

"We're thrilled to be bringing Luminette to the world and helping people that face health issues during the fall and winter months," said Eric Delloye, managing director of Lucimed, which manufactures Luminette in Belgium. "We live in an active society and Luminette is designed to provide relief for people and their on-the-go lives."

Luminette's 1500-lux blue-enriched white light is output from LEDs. It hits the diffraction lens and stimulates the retina, without affecting vision. Light shines downwards into the eyes, just as sunlight naturally does. Receptors in the eye then send a signal to the body's circadian clock regulator, stopping the secretion of melatonin, which naturally wakes up all body systems.

Luminette is UV and infra-red free and is classified as a safe product for the eyes in compliance with standard IEC 62471.