Sept 20 - A glass engineering firm has created a pod that allows users to be bathed in daylight - anytime of the day - or night. Ciara Sutton reports on the business implications of the technology.
It's called a Photon Pod and it could make us more productive. Unveiled at the London Design Festival the glass structure bathes those sitting inside in real daylight - day and night. No phosphorescent or neon lights here. Brent Richards is the architect. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PHOTON PROJECT ARCHITECT, BRENT RICHARDS, SAYING: " We'll be having one to two people in the pod. They'll be spending three months in the actual space, and they'll just have a normal daily rhythm. They'll go to college, come back again. We'll be tracking them and then we'll trace them with another set of people. And over the four years we'll probably be tracking around 300 people." The project is a collaboration between Oxford University and glass engineering firm Cantifix. And it features specialist lighting from Philips which simulates daylight after the sun goes down. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STEVEN BOERMA, MARKETING DIRECTOR, PHILIPS LIGHTING BENELUX, SAYING: "This will completely change the lighting landscape. So that's the aim of this research. But also the aim of Philips. I mean the 24/7 economy will not change. We will not change the fact that more and more people live in cities. What we can do is influence their well-being. And if we can help with that by creating the right lighting scenes. Then that is very good." (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER, CIARA SUTTON, SAYING: "With signs of winter creeping in we're already feeling the affects of shorter days and less light. And the creators of this structure hope that their results will help revolutionize both architectural and lighting industries." Researchers have already found that more daylight improves the productivity of schoolchildren. This experiment takes that work one step further. Charlie Sharman is founder of Cantifix. (SOUNBITE) (English) "Our computers keep us awake and our alarm clocks wake us up and it's a mess. The health benefits are massive. Serious health benefits. Dementia, Parkinson's, cancer - It's not just 'I feel a bit better today' - it's serious work." And there's a lot riding on it. Philips has made lighting and healthcare focus areas, selling off much of its consumer electronics business. If the Photon Pod becomes a model for living it could make their business look pretty bright.