Even on winter’s sunniest days, it can be tempting to hibernate inside, under the covers, with nothing but the bluish glow of a laptop screen for light. But glowing blue screens are notorious for disturbing sleep by confusing your circadian rhythms.
To put hyper-connected homebodies back in touch with nature, designer Kelton Ray Minor created Sunn, a light that changes in brightness and color in sync with the sun outside. The light hooks up to a smartphone app, which tracks the sun’s cycle in real time in your specific location and continuously adjusts the light’s brightness and color accordingly. In the morning, the round Sunn, which uses LED technology, gradually brightens into a warm golden glow along with the sunrise. In the afternoon, it cools down into a whiter color. After the sun sets, the light mimics the subtle gleam of a fire–our oldest artificial light source–providing enough useful illumination to get pre-bedtime tasks done, but not so much that your sleep will be disturbed.
The light also offers opportunities for pretending you live in brighter climes: If you’re living in, say, Norway during the months of perpetual dreary darkness, you can adjust the settings on the app so that the light follows the cycle of the constantly shining Maui sun. And it aims to protect the natural environment while reflecting it: Sunn uses a fraction of the electricity of a regular incandescent bulb. Designers claim on the Kickstarter page that the light will last 20 years.
An artificial light that attempts to mimic the quality of natural sunlight isn’t a new idea–there’s the Drift, a smart lightbulb designed by Saffron, which can be set to gradually dim over the course of 37 minutes to lull you to sleep like a setting sun. Then there are therapeutic lights, like the HappyLight, by Verilux, which claim to banish SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)’s winter blues by pumping out 10,000 LUX of full-spectrum light. But Sunn takes a more nuanced and poetic approach to the idea, with its location-specific technology and a design mimicking the sun’s round face–it appears to float while hanging on a wall, casting a soft halo around.