Active Wearables, a medtech startup based in Austria, has released Pocket Sky, a wearable designed to combat conditions resulting from time shifts and poor access to sunlight. The device can be worn like a pair of glasses and emits blue light to emulate sunlight, supposedly suppressing the production of melatonin. The company claims that the technology can help with conditions that are based on limited sunlight, such as seasonal affective disorder, or issues with circadian rhythms, such as jetlag or shift work disorder.
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People with seasonal affective disorder can suffer depression during the winter. The disorder is linked to lower levels of sunlight, and treatments include light exposure, which sufferers typically achieve using “light boxes” installed in their homes to emulate sunlight.
However, light therapy can be more difficult to achieve at work or when traveling. To address this, Active Wearables has designed the Pocket Sky to allow people to undergo light therapy using a small wearable. The device is worn like a pair of glasses and emits blue light, without the harmful ultraviolet component of sunlight.
Weighing just 12 grams, the wearable is conceived as a portable light therapy solution. Aside from seasonal affective disorder, the technology also has potential to help shift workers to reduce the risks of changing shift work. In the US, 15% of workers work in shifts, and shift work is associated with long-term sleep disturbance and higher risks of a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Blue light can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone involved in sleep, and shift workers could potentially use the wearable to re-sync their body clock when coming on or off a shift. Another potential application is to help mitigate the effects of jetlag while travelling or when returning from a trip abroad.
Worn for just 20 minutes per session, the company recommends that the device is used once in the morning and then as needed throughout the day. The company also claims that the wearable can enhance concentration, stamina, and performance.
The device incorporates wire-free charging and a two-week battery life.