Samsung backs artificial window that replicates sunlight

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Samsung is funding a startup that's making an artificial sunlight window.
Image: Samsung | SunnyFive

The present is already pretty dystopian. Still, plenty of startups have visions for the future that are far different from the world we currently live in. Inside Samsung’s in-house incubator, C-Labs, there are several of them.

One is called SunnyFive, a startup that is designing an artificial window that mimics natural sunlight. The device supposedly delivers the benefits of full-spectrum lighting to combat conditions like seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and help people get their daily dose of vitamin D.

Although there is plenty of sunshine outdoors, it’s rather ironic that SunnyFive is unveiling a product that mimics the outside when millions of people are being forced to stay indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Artificial Rays

SunnyFive’s artificial sunlight window isn’t just making its debut. An earlier model (then called the SunnySide) was on display at CES earlier this year. However, it didn’t have the support of Samsung at the time. Now that the Big Tech company is behind it, SunnyFive has a lot more momentum.

Its artificial window is a unique product that may struggle to find a market or could have a ton of success. Much of that will depend on how it is marketed and who the window is designed for.

Samsung announced that SunnyFive received its backing as part of the C-Labs program on Monday. Currently, details about the smart window aren’t plentiful.

Still, Samsung did give interested users something of a sneak peek at what the SunnyFive window will do. A product demo video shows off some of these features.

Users will be able to control the gadget with a companion smartphone app. They can tweak the characteristics of the sunlight, including things like the temperature and brightness. Meanwhile, the window will automatically adjust the angle and intensity of the light throughout the day to reflect the sun’s natural cycles—sunrise, dawn, dusk, and sunset.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see how the SunnyFive window could be used as a soundless alarm clock for users that prefer to wake up with the sun. It could also be a great product for night shift workers who have trouble regulating their circadian rhythms.

Sunshine Benefits

Nothing can perfectly replicate real sunshine. However, Samsung claims that the SunnyFive window will deliver many of the same benefits.

In a press release, the company says that the window “helps users synthesize vitamin D while they are indoors or in low-lit places without having to worry about skin aging or sunburn.”

Samsung also notes that the smart window will integrate with the rest of its smart home ecosystem, SmartThings. While an artificial window might not attract consumers on its own, integration with existing SmartThings devices could certainly draw in new buyers.

Still, there’s no guarantee that the SunnyFive window will see the light of day (pun intended). Samsung’s C-Labs has had plenty of innovative ideas but is yet to yield a winning product. Perhaps SunnyFive’s artificial sunlight window can reverse that trend and deliver sunlight to those that prefer to stay indoors.

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