Samsung’s ready to capitalize on the exponentially expanding scope of our current dystopia. The company announced this week its support for a project called SunnyFive, which is a “window-shaped lighting device that produces artificial sunlight.” The fake window provides a full spectrum of natural light and even allows for the light to change directions throughout the day.
Light therapy isn’t a new idea — “happy lamps” have been around for years to help with seasonal depression and sunlight deficiencies — but Samsung is really going for the jugular with this one. Maybe this will come in handy if the sun ever burns out completely... but otherwise it’s probably best to just go with a regular old window.
Health benefits? — SunnyFive claims some pretty impressive health benefits: full-spectrum UVB light that can help users synthesize vitamin D, all without ever having to worry about a sunburn or skin-aging. The product’s intro video also says the fake window provides “bright light for your depression.”
There’s plenty of research supporting light therapy as a treatment for seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.), but the claim of full-spectrum UVB light without any detrimental effects is going to be difficult to pull off. UVB light does come with the risk of causing cancer; that’s why we wear sunscreen. SunnySide also claims using the device allows the body to form vitamin D in “a much shorter time” than actual sunlight exposure does, which is questionable.
The technology behind SunnyFive hasn’t been revealed to the public just yet. If it can actually provide full-spectrum UVB light without side effects, it will be nothing short of a miracle.
We absolutely do not need this — Listen, smart lights are awesome. The ability to control the precise color and brightness of a table lamp from an app is still mind-blowing at times. And there are plenty of satisfied happy lamp customers out there who will testify to the power of fake sunlight as a treatment for seasonal depression.
But the SunnyFive is just ridiculous. How much is this massive fake window going to cost to purchase and install? If you have that kind of money lying around and you need more natural light, it’s probably a better option to rent an apartment with more windows.
Samsung’s backing of SunnySide is part of the company’s C-Lab incubation program, so it’s going to be a while before we see it on the market. And that’s just fine. Real life is already plenty dystopian without emptying our savings accounts for a fake window with sketchy-at-best health benefits.