4 January 2017
Soraa launches Helia smart LED lighting to provide healthy environment replicating natural sunlight
Soraa Inc of Fremont, CA, USA, which develops solid-state lighting technology fabricated on 'GaN on GaN' (gallium nitride on gallium nitride) substrates, is entering the consumer market with Helia, providing a healthy light environment for homes.
Positioned at the intersection of health and smart home, Helia - which has been named a CES 2017 Innovations Award Honoree at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (5-8 January) - combines full-spectrum LED lighting with a secure, expandable network of smart home sensors. The result is claimed to be an intuitive, energy-efficient lighting system that brings the benefits of dynamic, natural sunlight indoors.
Recent advances have revealed the crucial impact of light on sleep patterns and health. Specialized cells in the human eye respond to sunlight's blue light wavelengths to synchronize our internal clocks and set a circadian rhythm. Natural sunlight is bright and filled with blue light in the morning. As the sun sets, blue light recedes, signaling our bodies to prepare for sleep. However, people now live under artificial lights and in front of LED screens – which are often packed with blue light content. Many studies now conclude that even common levels of blue light exposure in the evening, primarily from artificial lighting sources, can negatively impact sleep and longer-term health. More than 60% of Americans now report sleep problems.
Helia tackles these concerns with what is claimed to be a unique approach – replicating the timing and visible spectrum of natural sunlight. Leveraging Soraa's LED technology coupled with an enterprise-grade networking and sensor platform, Helia adapts to an environment automatically, based on a home's sunrise and sunset times. Helia bulbs provide plenty of blue light in the morning, whereas in the evening the firm's patented BlueFree LED technology removes blue light completely while retaining a soft white color.
"More than ever, consumers are becoming aware of the effect artificial lighting and screens are having on their sleep and health," says CEO Jeff Parker. "Helia creates the healthiest lighting system ever introduced, to make homes a place where the efficiency of modern lighting and health can coexist," he claims.
"Paying attention to the amount and quality of the light you expose yourself to during the day and night is probably the single biggest modifiable factor for getting a healthy night of sleep," says Dr W Chris Winter, a sleep specialist and neurologist who consults for several NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL teams.
Other smart bulbs can change color during the day and night, but since they are all made with standard LEDs, they emit up to 20 times more blue light and can make your rooms unnaturally yellow. Instead, Helia emits a tailored spectrum - white light to render vivid colors throughout the day and night.
Soraa claims that Helia can also make smart home lighting simple to install. By just screwing in Helia bulbs and turning them on, they will automatically connect to one another over the existing power lines in your house and start working together, before even opening the app. No wireless hub or Internet connection is required to provide seamless integration with no wireless dead spots. Lighting can then be refined using the Helia app by providing information about where your house is located and when you usually wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night.
For consumers who want to connect their Helia lighting system to popular Internet of Things (IoT) cloud services, Helia has created the Cloud Connect accessory, which can be plugged into an outlet near a home Wi-Fi router.
Helia will be available initially in the North America market in Spring 2017 at Helia.com and will be sold as Room Kits, allowing consumers to order the precise number of bulbs and Smart SNAPS needed to outfit an entire room or rooms. Dynamic White BR30 bulbs will retail for $49.95 each, Dynamic White + Presence Smart SNAPs (one per room) will retail for $29.95, and the Cloud Connect accessory is $49.95 (optional, one per home).