One of the most exciting opportunities for emerging solid-state lighting (SSL) applications in the upcoming Strategies in Light (SIL) conference program is lighting for health and wellbeing, or human-centric lighting. While we have written and investigated instances of applying light in ways that impact the human circadian rhythm, there are new prospects for potentially treating illnesses or conditions using customized LED-based lighting systems that are developed via various scientific approaches. Neuroscientist Doug Steel is one such individual leading an inquiry into the influence of light on human health conditions outside of those impacted by circadian entrainment. Here Steel offers insights into the difference offered by approaching lighting from a pharmaceutical study vantage point. — CARRIE MEADOWS
As the field of human-centric lighting (HCL) continues to grow, it is apparent that the process of discovering and validating uses of controlled light exposure — and putting them to use in a variety of settings — has been neither straightforward nor driven by consensus. It requires the involvement of many different skillsets including the scientific community, illumination engineers, lighting specifiers and practitioners, and effective communicators who deliver insights and best practices to the user community. These need to connect to product and platform manufacturers and their downstream partners to make the appropriate devices and see that they are used in a proper manner. To those of us involved in the field, it is apparent that this complex network as less of an “ecosystem” and more like a “hairball!”
To those who are not scientists, it may not be appreciated that there are different kinds of scientists, who contribute to progress in complementary ways. Each brings a different perspective and skillset to the advancement of knowledge and the development of products and processes. Some but not all scientists have expertise in more than one of these areas. It’s useful to understand the perspectives and functions of each type as we approach the study and implementation of human-centric lighting (which we also call lighting for health and wellbeing).