Philips has announced the third generation of its HealWell lighting system. Designed for use in hospitals, the system is aimed at providing a comfortable experience for patients and helping them to sleep well by replicating the natural patterns of daylight.

The updated system is fully LED-based, unlike the second generation, and includes new tunable white LED light units. These units are accompanied by Philips Color Kinetics Color Cove, a linear color LED lighting fixture for downlighting around the perimeter of a room or in recessed areas. Together, they mimic the natural light based on location and the time of day.

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The lighting is controlled by a newly simplified version of the Philips Dynalite management system, which provides more flexibility for adjustments by patients and staff than was previously the case. It also includes energy monitoring and reporting functionalities and will eventually, says Philips, allow HealWell to be integrated with other building management systems and hospital systems.

HealWell can already be installed as part of a networked lighting system in a hospital, or alternatively, as a standalone system. Its commissioning and installation processes are said to have been simplified too.

The system is based on the principle that our bodies are evolved to operate not only in line with the length of a single day, but to react to what the natural light is like at any given time. These so-called circadian rhythms affect things like when we naturally wake up and feel ready to go to bed.

We've heard a lot about how artificial lighting may interfere with our circadian rhythm of late, with blue light emitted from TVs and mobile devices being linked to sleep problems. But artificial lighting can also be used to complement those rhythms – and that is what Philips has done with HealWell which, they say, can deliver a series of "light recipes."

In the morning, for example, and depending on location, it may give off the golden light of a sunrise, in the afternoon the bright white light of the high sun and, in the evening, the warm, low light of a sunset. It is suggested that this can be particularly beneficial in hospitals, where some patients are inside all day with little in the way of exposure to natural light.

Similar effects can be achieved using the Philips Hue range of LED bulbs, but the HealWell system is on a bigger scale. It has also been through clinical trials, which verified the system's benefits for sleep. Sleep duration was increased for trial participants by half an hour after just five days of exposure to the system.

The new version of Philips HealWell will be available at the beginning of 2017.

Source: Philips