A bit of history

PhotonStar have spent the last 10 years developing lighting that is better for people here in the UK. We first coined the phrase “circadian lighting” a decade ago, as we intoduced “SmartWhite” and “LEDSmart” – the very first dynamic lights and control system that delivered the right spectra of light for night and  a different optimised spectra for day.

This has been an exciting decade with the mass adoption of LEDs for energy saving, but also huge strides in the understanding of the non visual effects of light on our bodies and minds. In those 10 years, prices for regular LED lighting has dropped dramatically, but along with it a decline in UK manufactured LED technology that had reliability and quality at  its heart. The adoption by the majority of these low cost LED lights means that in most buildings now, the lights we use at light have too much blue content for our health.

Lighting control systems in the last 10 years have improved in leaps and bounds, but they are in the main focussed on saving energy or automating safety tests. PhotonStar has worked closely with the customers who benefit from circadian lighting to develop both a wired and a wireless solution that keeps the cost of providing circadian lighting to a minimum, and retains the simplicity of operation that our customers truly need. Just because technology can do lots of clever things – it doesnt mean it should.

The light sources, now almost all LED continue to be made using a blue LED and a yellow phosphor which together make white appearing light. By combining with controls – a tuneable white LED option has become popular, but it does not in any way provide a circadian solution as it provides too much blue light at night and typically not enough of the right blue during the day.

Our journey has been about making the technoogy fit the user, the application and the biology – which has taken us a little off piste compared to regular LED and controls products. Our light sources are developed for the human need for light and darkness. The control systems are designed for simple uncomplicated installation and operation. We realised several years ago that most people “just want a light switch that works and looks like a light switch”.  We also larned that by working with other product and service providers as well as the operations teams in care and healthcare to change ways of working, we could observe far better results.

This video was filmed in 2011 at the Rensellar Institute and talked about the understanding of non visual lighting needs as we understood them at the time.