clock menu more-arrow no yes

This isn't sunshine. It's an ingenious $61,000 artificial light.

coelux 2

(CoeLux)

The skylight in this photo isn't actually a skylight.

It's a new high-tech artificial light from the Italian company CoeLux that ingeniously uses LEDs and nano-technology to mimic the warm tone of sunlight and the deep blue color of the sky, and it starts at $61,000.

coelux 1

(CoeLux)

All these are untouched photos, and people who've experienced the technology firsthand says it that the light tricks your brain even more powerfully in person. "It’s like walking into another dimension," Ken Kessler recently wrote in the Telegraph. "Your brain will incontrovertibly believe that you are in a room in Portofino in August, or Miami in September."

coelux 4

(CoeLux)

The lights were developed over the course of a decade by Paolo Di Trapani, a physicist at Como's Insubria University.

They create the illusion of the sun and sky solely by scattering light from a white LED in a very specific pattern — the same pattern that sunlight is scattered as it passes the atmosphere (a phenomenon known as Rayleigh scattering).

The company is selling lights that emit the "sunlight" at three different angles: 60° ("Tropical"), 45° ("Mediterranean"), and 30° ("Nordic"). The company envisions all kinds of applications for the lights — places like schools, airports, and hospitals — and they were recently used at an art exhibition in Venice.

But one of the biggest benefits might be for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder during the winter. Morning exposure to artificial light that mimics sunlight is already an effective treatment for many people. And this particular new type of light could make the experience seem even more real. On a dreary winter day, you could feel like you were waking up to a bright Mediterranean morning.

Further readingSeasonal affective disorder: Why the short days of winter make you depressed

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for The Weeds

Get our essential policy newsletter delivered Fridays.