Light - As we See it!


  • The REFINED light

    Pon Kumaresh
    Jun 22, '15 10:10 AM EST

    Of the five senses sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, which provides the most information to the brain?

    For obvious reasons, I thought it is sight, but it turns out that there is a huge area reserved in the brain for the sense of touch. Vision, also occupies a large portion of the brain, by the way. 

    Having watched "The biology of belief" by Bruce Lipton, I knew that our skin is the most intelligent part of our body and from its 3 layers of ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm, as a single cell, all our skin, nervous system, skeleton, circulatory system, brain, eyes, heart, liver, kidney etc are manufactured. Every nutrient necessary for the development of the cell is allowed inside the cell and foreign agents are kept outside the cell by the intelligence of cell membrane (membrain, as one doctor puts it).

    So what about the skin of the grown up adult? Does it provide any kind of nutrition? I think it provides the wholesome nutrition from the Sun. With a huge surface area, our skin has been converting solar energy into vitamin D, a critical ingredient in our health, for centuries. (Watch the video below- What if you stopped going outside?)

    Cells containing the black melanin pigment line the back of the photoreceptors, rods and cones, in the retina absorbing all the light and preventing scattering in the eye. The outer segments of rods and cones are destroyed (bleaching) when exposed to light and regenerated at end of day for cones and at end of night for rods. Melanin helps to chemically restore the rods and cones, every day and night.

    In our skin, melanin is believed to be the natural sunscreen and is the main UV absorbent, antioxidant, scavenger of radicals and the primary determinant of vitamin D synthesis. Yes, we use UV B and cholesterol to synthesize vitamin D. Our cells can also repair certain type of DNA damage. Wait a minute, did we evolve from UV B light?

    If tiny amounts of melanin can absorb light and aid in photoreceptor regeneration, what could be the purpose of the huge amounts of melanin in our skin? To cause skin cancers?

    Now let us look at the infrared radiation. Most of IR from the sun's electromagnetic radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere. But as more sunlight radiation is absorbed by earth, it emits IR radiation as heat (greenhouse effect).

    So for eons, more light is always associated with more heat, direct and indirect. This heat variation through seasons is also mediated by our skin for maintaining our body temperature. Now, with air conditioning, more light could mean cold weather! 

    Both these electromagnetic radiation bands, UV and IR, have been termed as the "invisible" light and are on either side of the visible light spectrum beyond the violet and red. Could it be, that our skin, was designed to deliver the goodness of "invisible" light and our eyes, designed to deliver the goodness of visible light to deep layers within our body through various biological transformations? 

    If solar radiation provides us with a wholesome food of IR, visible and UV light, we have been consuming only the refined food, the visible light. It is like the wholesome food being ripped off their original nutrient content and fibre for producing commercial refined foods.

    Even in buildings with daylight harvesting techniques, IR and UV radiations are almost eliminated with glazing and only visible light is allowed inside the buildings. And in most buildings artificial light provides the visible light. 

    Instead of IR and UV radiations, our skin is exposed to an overdose(limited in natural settings) of microwaves, nowadays, from our electronic gadgets, towers and satellites. Are we moving from the refined food to the artificial junk food? Time will tell. 

    Can we design buildings which restores the natural setting of higher visible light mixed with the optimum doses of "invisible" light? Even though it is difficult to escape the commercial compulsions in our industrialized world, still architects are slowly breaking the barriers between humans and nature. (Watch the video below: Best Kindergarten you've ever seen)

    What do you think? Are you aware of any designs which connects with nature? Please share.

                                                                         ___   ___   ___

    I aim to spread awareness on the subject of Healthy Lighting designs to facilitate co-creation of healthy lighting at home, work and other social spaces. My posts can be accessed at Archinect  and Linkedin Group. I also have a self published book "Healthy Lighting of your Homes" at Amazon.

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    What if you stopped going outside?

    Best kindergarten you've ever seen

  • Light Hazard Labels

    Pon Kumaresh
    Jun 15, '15 12:48 PM EST

    First attempt by a lighting manufacturer to warn customers about the wrong light at the wrong time and its biological disruptions. article says thus "The packing on every one of their products will carry a "Notice" that "exposure to... View full entry

  • Me? Chicken? No way!

    Pon Kumaresh
    Jun 10, '15 4:01 AM EST

    A vivid example of light and dark cycle manipulation to improve or deteriorate health.There was a time, when chicken used to roam around freely in the farms, exposed to natural sunlight and darkness, natural food and water consumption regulated by the light and dark cycles of nature. They were... View full entry

    Optogenetics: Controlling the brain with light

    Time-Restricted Eating May Reverse Diabetes & Obesity

  • Go New York!

    Pon Kumaresh
    Jun 5, '15 12:14 PM EST

    Recently I came across a news article about plans in New York city to switch off lights at night (LAN). It was heartening to read that article, but the reasoning for this move is an absurd one... View full entry

  • LIGHT obstruction by trees

    Pon Kumaresh
    May 22, '15 10:26 AM EST

    Road lighting is so much in favor using streetlights instead of post tops. Even if the road width is less, traffic flow is minimal or it is a private road, still street lighting fixtures are used without a second thought.While street lighting is indispensable for roads with high speed traffic and... View full entry

  • Chapter 3 - Light and Dark Cycle

    Pon Kumaresh
    Feb 18, '15 11:02 PM EST

    (Excerpts of Chapter 3 from "Healthy Lighting of your Homes - Guiding principles to health efficient lighting of homes". The book is available for purchase at day light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum of the sun. EM spectrum is the energy behind... View full entry

  • Chapter 2 - Natural Clocks

    Pon Kumaresh
    Feb 18, '15 2:01 AM EST

    (Full preview of Chapter 2 from "Healthy Lighting of your Homes - Guiding principles to health efficient lighting of homes". The book is available for purchase at Universe works with the precision of a clock. Planets revolve around the Sun at precise... View full entry

  • Chapter 1 - A brief history of you!

    Pon Kumaresh
    Feb 16, '15 11:18 PM EST

    (Full preview of Chapter 1 from "Healthy Lighting of your Homes - Guiding principles to health efficient lighting of homes". The book is available for purchase at“ We are all connected ; To each other biologically, To the earth, chemically,To the rest of the... View full entry

  • Healthy Lighting of your Homes

    Pon Kumaresh
    Feb 16, '15 1:12 AM EST

    Inappropriate lighting and inappropriate darkness at inappropriate times is wreaking havoc on our health everyday but at an imperceptible pace and intensity at a subconscious level. Compared to the intensities of light and darkness exposure over millions of years, our technological advances and... View full entry


    Pon Kumaresh
    Nov 10, '14 5:59 AM EST

    In this post, i will make an attempt to capture the evolution of lighting schemes from room based lighting to the contemporary, task based and 'non-visual' aspects of lighting schemes.  While, the horizontal lighting levels are still the primary consideration, impact of light on our perceptions... View full entry

  • Shadows - THE highLIGHT!

    Pon Kumaresh
    Nov 1, '14 3:57 AM EST

    "The beginnings and ends of shadow lie between the light and darkness and may be infinitely diminished and infinitely increased. Shadow is the means by which bodies display their form. The forms of bodies could not be understood in detail but for shadow." - LEONARDO DA VINCILight and shadow have... View full entry

    Why does my shadow change color?

  • How do we FEEL light?

    Pon Kumaresh
    Oct 18, '14 9:17 AM EST

    Have you ever wondered how the sunflower is able to follow the sun?Probably you know that they exhibit a property called heliotropism or solar tracking, commonly found in many plants. It is essential for maximum photosynthesis. But why are the sunflowers not facing the setting sun in the picture... View full entry

    Richard Dawkins demonstrates the evolution of the eye

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  • Can we see LIGHT?

    Pon Kumaresh
    Oct 6, '14 1:21 AM EST

    In 2001, I attended a training course conducted by Dr. Warren Julian, from University of Sydney, which created a new understanding of lighting. Me and my friend became ardent fans of the professor and peppered him with questions after questions and did not even let him eat peacefully during the... View full entry

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About this Blog

This blog would attempt to cover basic design factors typically considered in lighting design. In 1998, i was asked about the material of the filament inside the incandescent bulb, for which i did not have a clue, at that time. I am an engineer and i have the aptitude to learn the subject is what i told the interviewer and surprisingly, got into the lighting industry! Perhaps it is that shameful ignorance that gave me a voracious appetite to proactively seek, learn and understand lighting.

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