Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lighting up the lives of the elderly – adaptively

Artificial light benefits elderly ...

"Artificial light affects us in subtle ways. At its best, ambient lighting can relax, soothe or excite, but used poorly it can drain us of energy and disrupt sleep. What if lighting could adapt automatically to meet our individual needs?

The result, say a team of European researchers, would be an improvement in the general wellbeing of anybody who spends long periods in artificially lit buildings, particularly the elderly and the infirm, but also factory and office workers.

“Studies have shown that the quality and type of lighting can have a significant impact on our health and comfort,” explains Edith Maier, a researcher at Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences (FHV) in Austria. Maier coordinated the EU-funded Aladin project which brought together academic and industrial partners from Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania to develop an innovative ambient lighting system that adapts intelligently to individual needs and wishes.

The system uses information from biosensors worn by the occupants of a room or building to determine what users are doing and then changes the lighting accordingly. The researchers’ goal is to use the technology to improve the wellbeing of the elderly, people suffering from age-related illnesses and people with reduced mobility, many of whom spend a lot of time confined indoors.

“Poor lighting can accentuate existing vision problems and reading difficulties among the elderly, it can cause depression and disrupt sleep cycles,” Maier says. “By automatically adapting the lighting in a room to what people are doing, many of these psychological and physiological problems can be reduced."    (Continued via ICT, Usavility News)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Artificial light for elderly. - Ergonomics

Artificial light for elderly.

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