About this project
Meet Luto - the ideal LED lighting companion for screen use.
Luto's front-facing task light provides high-quality illumination directly onto your desk, while its back-facing LED panel generates the appropriate ambient lighting level for the area around your screen to reduce eye strain and fatigue (around 60% of the monitor brightness).
Luto's colour temperature can be adjusted, letting you improve productivity and alertness during a work session, or relax the brain when you’re trying to wind down.
Luto is designed to:
> Fit a variety of monitors from 10mm-50mm thick
> Fit above built-in webcams
> Work with both PC & Mac platforms
How does Luto work?
Luto clips onto the top of your monitor and plugs into your computer via a USB port (although it also needs to be plugged into a standard power source). It contains a variety of sensors at various points that allow it to estimate the light levels around your screen and then mimic them. The colour temperatures and intensities of both its task light and ambient light source can be adjusted, letting you create the perfect lighting environment for whatever you are doing.
Luto comes with LightApp, a simple piece of software specially designed to monitor and adjust lighting levels, letting you choose the colour temperature of the light it emits. This can come in useful when trying to get the most out of the time you spend at your screen, whether you’re working late and need to stay focused, or are chilling out before getting some sleep.
Simply set it to auto for the ideal environment for reduced eye strain, or manually adjust the settings to get the most out of the time at your screen.
Light & the brain
In terms of biology, your brain releases different hormones depending on the colour temperature of the light that you are surrounded by. When you are surrounded by cool light, your brain releases chemical signals that keep you awake and alert. Conversely, when you are surrounded by warm light, the brain stops releasing these hormones and begins to release chemicals such as melatonin, encoring you to relax and prepare for sleep.
(Image sourced from www.nature.com)
So if you’re up all night for a deadline, set Luto to a cool light to keep your brain active, and if you’re relaxing in front of a film, set it to a warm light for a tranquil viewing session.
High-quality light for creative projects
The light emitted by Luto is of an exceptionally high quality, meaning it’s not only great for reducing eye strain, it’s an ideal light source for creatives like ourselves who use our desk spaces for examining product samples, matching colours and finishes, or simply sketching out ideas.
It emits light that is made up of nearly all of the colours in the visible spectrum, meaning it’s much better at picking out colour and detail than standard bulbs. We call this Tru-Colour 95CRI. You can read more about colour, light and the Colour Rendering Index (CRI) over on the Brightgreen blog.
Sync your lighting with your life
LightApp can be synched with calendars such as iCal, allowing you to program lighting changes throughout your day. For example, if you create a calendar in your iCal called ‘Study’, you can sync it to a cool-to-neutral colour temperature to keep your brain active, while your ‘Break’ calendar can be synched to a warm colour temperature to give your body a rest.
In a shared space, the calendar sync function can also be used to notify others that you are busy via indicator LEDs that sit in the top of the unit. Simply use LightApp to sync ‘available’ and ‘do not disturb’ attributes to your activities, which then cause a red or green LED to light up, letting people know whether to interrupt you or not.
A handy motion sensor embedded in Luto's front wakes it up, along with your computer, when you sit down in front of the screen. This means that you never suffer on a day when you have forgotten to turn it on, and never accidentally leave it on when you are away from your screen.
Hack your Luto!
We’ve left the software open source, so you can reprogram Luto whatever way you want.
Illuminating the globe
We'll be manufacturing Luto in 240V and 110V versions with a variety of international plug types so that you can order the Luto that suits you wherever you are in the world.
If we are successfully funded, we aim to deliver the first Luto units to early bird pledgers in May 2014, with all other standard and special edition units being delivered in June 2014.
The Brightgreen Ideahub – Who are we?
At Brightgreen, we’re big on two things: LED lighting, and life-enhancing ideas. While we currently design and mass-produce a wide range of LED lights for different uses across residential, commercial and public spaces, we needed a home for the ideas that solve the little problems in life. The Brightgreen Ideahub is our place for this.
The members of the Ideahub have a wide range of experience in industrial design, product design, engineering, coding, project management and marketing. Under the guise of Brightgreen, our IP currently includes 3 international design patents and 9 Australian design patents, and we have won several national and international design awards including several Melbourne Design Awards, a United Nations World Environment Day award, and a Banksia Sustainability award.
The prototype – Where we are now
Electronics & components
Luto's circuit has been designed so that all dimming and colour changing control is done via the computer via LightApp and the USB interface. The unit itself is powered by mains power. The electronics for the current prototype have all been hand soldiered from individual components; the final product will compress the whole electronic system onto a smaller form factor PCB and will include higher rated components.
The current prototype contains a LDR photoresistor to adjust light levels with the surroundings, as well as PIR Sensor for motion detection. Further testing is needed in future prototypes with a range of other sensors in order to determine which sensor produces the right amount of sensitivity over the range of situations that the product will encounter over its lifetime in changing environments.
All LEDs sourced for the prototype are currently top of the line in regards to colour rendering and efficiency. The prototype has been hand-manufactured, but the final product will incorporate a custom PCB to house the diodes. As any technology in an industry that is currently undergoing rapid improvements, the final product will include the latest LEDs to ensure that any improvements in light quality and/or efficiency are included.
The task lights lens is a one-of-a-kind asymmetrical lens sourced from Khatod, an Italian optics engineering and manufacturing company. Slight adjustments to the angle and placement of this will be incorporated into the final product in order to make sure that there is zero glare for a greater range of user sitting heights in relation to the monitor.
You can download a full component breakdown here.
Housing & form
The process of producing the current prototype has involved using 5-axis CNC machines as well as 3D printed nylon. The final product will be the same form as the prototype but will be laser cut and CNC’d out of extruded aluminium – it will differ to the final textures achieved on the surface of the prototype in order to seamlessly integrate into your monitor.
All rubber overmoulds will be plastic injection moulded, and the majority of the product been designed to fit together without glues or other fixatives in order to make it easier to recycle at the end of its life.
Compatibility & code
The program and UI integrated in the current program is primarily used as a proof of concept. The final product will include a more intuitive UI as well as greater potential for implementing it with other programs.
Design & production
Luto has been entirely designed in Melbourne, Australia. The product will be assembled in China under ISO 9001 conditions at one of Brightgreen's trusted partners. The LED chips will be sourced from Japan and the lens from Italy, with all other housing and tools being purchased and managed in China.
Throughout November 2013 until March 2014, we will continue to develop the user interface and computer plugins for Luto.
The funding breaks down as follows:
We've designed several tiers of rewards, including a $89 early bird offer, a $99 standard/gift option and some $199 and $499 limited edition Luto packages. No matter what tier of reward you opt for, we'll be sure to credit you and keep you updated with our progress.
Luto will be produced in Black, Silver and Cyan - the images below show the different colourway options.
References: Eye strain, headaches and fatigue
“As computers and hand-held display devices become integrated into various aspects of everyday life, vision complications related to display use are increasing in prevalence. Symptoms include eye strain, tired eyes, irritation, redness, blurred vision, double vision and when experienced as a collective, computer vision syndrome.” – Computer Vision Syndrome: A Review, Clayton Blehm, Seema Vishnu, Ashbala Khattak, Shrabanee Mitra, Richard W. Yee
“Light is an environmental marker that can produce non-visual responses within the human body, including the regulation of circadian rhythms, suppression of melatonin, and promotion of alertness and cognition. Recent studies have shown that these non-visual responses are particularly sensitive to monochromatic blue-enriched white light.
With an increasing number of the population working under artificial lighting conditions, there is a need for more energy efficient lighting that also promotes cognition and alertness.” – Cognitive Processing Under Different Color Temperature Rated Environments, S. Taylor Frost and Cory D. Gifford
Risks and challenges
Risks and challenges include sourcing final componentry, liaising with manufacturers, and packaging and shipping the final product.
We plan to pull from our contacts and experience that we have gained from previous Brightgreen projects to make the production and delivery run smoothly – we will be using component suppliers and manufacturers that we have worked with before, and our in-house logistics and graphic design team will manage packaging and distribution.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
It is suitable for any monitor 10-50mm thickness measured 60mm from the top edge of the monitor.
It will work on a laptop but it is not intended for this purpose - the ergonomics of the device would be compromised and depending on the screen thickness it may not sit right. The asymmetrical form of Luto has been designed to look good anywhere on the top of the display so if it obstructs a monitor camera it will not look out of place to the side of the screen.
The LEDs should last approximately 40,000hrs which is approx. 14yrs at 8hrs/day use. We are still in the process of evaluating the Luto's performance so once this is complete we will be able to update the Kickstarter page with an official figure.
We do not replace LEDs at the products end-of-life as some components may have degraded to a point where they will provide an inferior product if they had to last another 14 years. We do however, offer a $1 buy back scheme where we purchase the Luto at its end-of-life to break it down into individual components for material recycling.
There is no screen size limit for luto.
What if I have three monitor setup? Should I buy 3 luto or just one and place it at the middle monitor?
You can definitely just use one for the monitor in the middle.
The software will recognise if multiple Luto's are connected to a single computer and the user will be able to control their output as a group or individually. For this campaign we are focusing on the core functionality of the product so multiple monitor support may be addressed at a later date.
In the video all i see this being used with are apple imacs does this work on windows/linux workstations?
Luto is being developed using cross-platform framework and will be supported on both Windows or MAC based OS. We are yet to evaluate Linux compatibility.
Is the front facing desk light adjustable as in can I tilt it up and down? it looked like it caused quite a bit of glare on the screen when it was on.
The front facing task light is fixed and we are currently in the process of finalising the optics, as a result we can only provide an indication of the illumination area. To show you the beam angle of the light, I could send you a PDF to your email address if provided. The illumination area has been estimated through a combination of simulation software and in-house testing of our current design based on a screen height of approximately 500mm from the working plane (a 27" iMac with no stand). We intend to eliminate any glare associated with this light and of course, once we have met the desired characteristics we will provide a formal update on Kickstarter so I hope this helps until then.
I would like to know thad does luto keep changing the brightness level as per the activities going on on the screen, like if the movie scene or a webpage is really bright or dark. does luto dynamically and actively change the brightness level in realtime.
By default Luto changes the brightness of its rear light by sampling lux levels at set intervals and calculating the average of the last 30 seconds, then smoothly adjusting the light over a 2 second transition period. This prevents instantaneous changes or flashes in brightness when using your computer in a space with highly variable light - such as watching a movie.
If however, this is what you are after Luto allows the user to simply adjust the sampling rate, transition time and threshold with a single control on your computer so it can be tailored to your requirements whether it be instantaneous changes or slow gradual transitions.
The USB specification doesn't supply enough power for the amount of the high CRI light (light which illuminates surfaces with high quality light reflecting colours exceptionally naturally) that the Luto produces. In order to have a reasonable brightness in a lamp as well as a backlight to wash the wall behind the screen a power connection is definitely required.
*** We will also be manufacturing Luto in a 110v version. ***
Can this be run on a TV instead of a computer monitor. If no, would you consider making it programmable to be set at a certain colour without requiring USB input.
Luto will also have manual controls via a very simple one or two button control interface. You could select colour temperature and turn the front and back lights on and off.
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