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Creating a Virtual Sky in the Office

January 1st 1970

In this current day and age, working outside seems to only be for labourers and the like. Most of us sit at our office desks and office chairs in an office environment. Some of us donate have the luxury of windows and if we do, light is blocked out by free standing screens or desktop screens.

Office lighting is not usually up for debate, but now there is a product on its way that may suggest how office lighting could improve the general productivity in the office. This product is in its prototype stage and it creates the image of a virtual sky. Fraunhofer researchers have created this prototype that is supposed to mimic the clouds moving across the sky and uses LED lights that are energy efficient to do this.

There are three modes that the ceiling can be set to, static, slow and rapid moving clouds. The idea is that the fluctuations in light give the idea that the office workers are sitting outside whilst sitting at their office desks and swivel chairs without feeling the cold or in miserable weather.

The prototype that was created in a lab is able to light up the ceiling by more than 3,000 lumens per square foot (1 square metre) when running at full power. This intensity is far greater than 500-1000 lumens needed to create a comfortable light intensity in the office. This virtual sky has already been tested by volunteers.

The end result was that 90% of the workers enjoyed working at their desks under this form of office lighting. The volunteers were tested over three days, the first were subjected to the static light, the second slow fluctuations and the third fast fluctuations. The result was that 8 out of 10 volunteers actually preferred the rapid fluctuations. This type of ceiling is not currently on the market, however due to the success of the test and the interest it created, we should see this on the market very soon.

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