LRC’s 'Dimesimeter' named Top 10 Innovation

Mar 29, 2012
The Dimesimeter, a circadian light and activity sensor developed by the Lighting Research Center (LRC).

The Scientist magazine unveiled the Top 10 Innovations of 2011, and coming in at number eight was the Dimesimeter, a circadian light and activity sensor developed by the Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer through funding from the National Institute on Aging. 

The Scientist invited members of the life science community to submit descriptions of exciting tools that made an impact in research, according to the magazine’s official announcement. More than 65 entries were reviewed by a panel of experts who were asked to evaluate the technologies and come up with the top 10 of 2011.

The Dimesimeter is calibrated in terms of the spectral sensitivities of the visual and the circadian systems, as the circadian system is much more sensitive to short-wavelength (“blue”) light. Commercially available light measurement devices are only calibrated to measure light for vision.

“Biology is driven by circadian rhythms at every level, and light is the main stimulus for synchronizing the circadian system to the solar day. By quantifying an individual’s light/dark exposure pattern, we can prescribe ‘light treatments’ promoting circadian entrainment, thereby improving health and well-being,” explains Mariana Figueiro, director of the Light and Health Program at LRC, and principal investigator on the project.

Growing evidence indicates that circadian disruption by irregular light/dark patterns is associated with reduced quality of life and increased risk of disease. The Dimesimeter system—a combination of light monitoring and therapy prediction—has the potential to positively affect the lives of millions who suffer from circadian rhythm sleep disorders, including persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

Persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) suffer from erratic sleep cycles, nocturnal wandering, and daytime irritability, which can make it difficult for family caregivers to maintain a safe, at-home environment. These sleep disturbances are due, in part, to the absence of daily, robust /dark pattern exposures, says Figueiro.

Explore further: PsiKick's batteryless sensors poised for coming 'Internet of things'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shines light on night-time alertness

Aug 26, 2009

The circadian system is not the only pathway involved in determining alertness at night. Research described in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience showed that red light, which does not stimulate the circadian system ...

Study: lighting and how it affects health

Oct 19, 2005

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute scientists in Troy, N.Y., say they've discovered a way of testing architectural lighting and how it affects human health.

Recommended for you

Large streams of data warn cars, banks and oil drillers

Apr 16, 2014

Better warning systems that alert motorists to a collision, make banks aware of the risk of losses on bad customers, and tell oil companies about potential problems with new drilling. This is the aim of AMIDST, the EU project ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...