Faux Sunlight

Interior space illuminated by high tech LED skylight from Coelux

CoeLux uses LEDs and nano-materials to create a startling facsimile of sunlight.

Here is a technologically innovative light fixture that simulates the look of sunlight through a skylight. It is made from a material that mimics the light scattering achieved through the Earth’s atmosphere. CoeLux wants to change our experience in spaces cut off from the outside. Different models recreate the warm, grazing light of Northern Europe or the dramatic light of the Tropics. It is currently being used in ‘iceberg homes’ —mega basements for the wealthy in London. But imagine it being used in hospitals, gyms, offices, and carparks. It could have some real impact when the price comes down…

Below is the full article from the blog PetaPixel. Photos by Michael Loos.

Interior space illuminated by high tech LED skylight from Coelux

Accurately mimicking sunlight isn’t just a matter of creating a perfect simulation of the sunlight’s wavelength, but recreating a process called Rayleigh scattering where that light is subtly distorted by atmospheric particles.

There’s an innovative new light technology that’s trying to shake up the way people think about “artificial light.” In Italian company called CoeLux has developed a new light source that recreates the look of sunlight through a skylight so well that it can trick both human brains and cameras.

It’s a high tech LED skylight that’s designed to provide “sunlight” for interior spaces cut off from the outdoors. One of the main ideas behind it is that to create realistic sunlight, you can’t just simulate the sun… you need to recreate the atmosphere as well.

CoeLux turns a basement washroom into a passable alternative to a Mediterranean spa.

A basement washroom transformed into a passable alternative to a Mediterranean spa.

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Interior space illuminated by high tech LED skylight from Coelux

The scientists who invented the light figured out how to use a thin coating of nanoparticles to accurately simulate sunlight through Earth’s atmosphere and the effect known as Rayleigh scattering. It’s not just the color temperature that is the same — the quality of the light feels the same as well.

People who have had a chance to experience the skylight so far have been fooled into believing that there was an actual hole in the ceiling, and the sample photos on the CoeLux website come with a cautionary note: “The photographs on this site are real and unretouched. They are not computer renderings.”

The technology is designed for providing the appearance of sunlight to spaces that could use it (e.g. hospitals, gyms, offices, underground parking structures), but it seems photographers could also make use of it as well for an artificial sunlight source in a studio — especially people who work in places with unpredictable or limited sunlight. However, the price would need to come down first: CoeLux currently costs £40,000 (~$61,000) to buy and up to £5,000 (~$7,600) for installation.

CoeLux says future improvements will include the ability to change the position of the sun in the frame and dynamic color temperature of the sunlight.

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The innovation behind CoeLux is a custom nano material that recreates the effects of 6,200 miles of atmosphere into a sheet of plastic just a few millimeters thick.

Wired magazine also has an article on this: A Nanotech Skylight That Looks Just Like The Sun Shining Overhead.

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