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Company hopes to mimic natural light in the workplace

Mar 30, 2015

Arborlight hopes to replace harsh indoor lights like the ones pictured above with natural lighting that simulates sunlight.
Credit Ari Sandberg / Michigan Radio

For many of us lacking the fortune of an office with a window, harsh indoor lighting has become an accepted staple of workplace life. This reality might be changing in the not-so-distant future.

Ann Arbor-based technology company Arborlight has been awarded a $1.7 million venture capital investment to further commercialize its "daylight simulator."

Arborlight will use the investment, administered by Ann Arbor SPARK, to bring to market LED technology that mimics natural light.

The company's product, LightWell, is a luminaire that emulates daylight, and changes color, intensity and direction in real time based on the sun's position in the sky and location of the light.

The company hopes the technology will improve the health and mood of individuals relegated to the indoors. 

In a statement to the Ann Arbor News, Michael Forbis, founder of Arborlight, explains:

"The evidence supporting the positive health and cognitive effects of dynamic daylight conditions in work, school, medical and retail environments is overwhelming. The demand for daylight in spaces deprived of traditional windows and skylights is a multibillion dollar opportunity."

Arborlight is a spinoff from the University of Michigan's Office of Technology Transfer. The company got its start after participating in Ann Arbor SPARK's Entrepreneur Boot Camp in 2010.

Michigan Angel Fund managing director, Skip Simms, hopes Arborlight will serve as "an exciting example of how technology can be incubated in a university setting, and progress forward and have real economic impact."

-Ari Sandberg, Michigan Radio Newsroom