Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research in Germany have invented a new type of window that is conceived to improve concentration, regulate sleep, and even make you happier. The so-called “feel-good glass” has a special .1-micrometer-thick inorganic coating that is optimized to transmit wavelengths between 450 and 500 nanometers, where the effects of blue light are most pronounced. Blue light is the part of the spectrum which promotes the balance of biorhythm-moderating hormones (and which traditional glass largely blocks). “The coating we’ve developed helps people to feel they can perform better and makes it less likely they will fall ill,” Dr. Jörn Probst says.
Of course, you could soak up plenty of mood-enhancing light just by stepping outside. But given that Americans spend as much as 90% of their lives indoors, it makes perfect sense to welcome the healthiest aspects of the outdoors inside. The effects can even be felt in spaces criminally low on natural light, the researchers say; as long as there is at least one small window, blue light can creep in.
The patent-pending Uniglas | Vital feel-good glass isn’t on the market yet, and still requires some tinkering. Says researcher Walther Glaubitt: “Up to now we’ve only applied our special coating to the side of the glass facing into the cavity between panes. In future we will also be coating the glazing’s exposed surfaces–in other words, the outside and the inside of the window. That will allow us to achieve around 95 percent light transmissivity at 460 nanometers.”
[see also PSFK]
Neato! I feel happier already! Of course I’m always an advocate of the real thing, but I also work in an office all day and know just how powerful a little sunshine on my shoulder can be for my productivity (unless it’s a REALLY nice day outside and then I’m about as productive as a surgeon with two left hands. Thankfully I’m also left-handed).
But until this glass becomes commercially available, your best bet for better health really is step outside and get a few minutes of sun every day – even 20 minutes daily makes a huge difference.
- Feel-good glass for windows (eurekalert.org)
- Scientists Invent Glass That’ll Make You Happier (fastcodesign.com)
- New techno-windows could make houses happier and healthier by letting ‘natural’ daylight in (dailymail.co.uk)
- VITAL feel-good glass replaces pain with happy pane (slashgear.com)
- “Feel-Good Glass” (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Window coating improves mood by letting more light in (gizmag.com)