Colour and Lighting

The colour and lighting event saw three speakers talk about how humans deal with an environment in which the light is constantly changing, how light effects human health, and how lighting can be used to improve our environments. The speakers were Prof. Anya Hurlbert, Daniel Garside, and Malcolm Innes. Their abstracts are given below.

Anya Hurlbert (Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University)

Does blue light wake you up or make you down?

Light not only enables people to see via the classical visual pathway, but also affects alertness, mood, and biological rhythms, via the non-visual pathway originating in the
melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells (mRGCs). In other words, people both see and feel the colour of light. The ability to tune light spectra in real-time with multi-channel LED technology makes it possible – both in the lab, and, in the near future, in the home and workplace – to optimise the colour of light according to the desired task, time of day, and environment, as well as in response to feedback from wearable biosensors.

In this talk, I will discuss the results of experiments in which we measured the effects varying spectra of light on visual attention, mood, sleepiness, and melatonin production.
Although “blue” light indeed reduces melatonin production in the evening, and reduces sleepiness, it also reduces visual attention, and generally worsens mood.

Daniel Garside (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, University College London)

Daylight and Colour Vision

The light that reaches us here on the surface of earth varies rather drastically over time, in response to changes in weather conditions, solar elevation and other factors. Our visual system is remarkably successful in handling this variability, so much so that we scarcely stop to think about the difficulty of the task at hand.

In this talk I will talk about a dimensional perspective on daylight and human colour perception, and consider the possibility of a link between the two, focusing on the work of Roger Shepard on the evolutionary internalization of external factors.

Malcolm Innes (Senior Research Fellow, Napier University)

True Colours: explorations in art, design and research

Do you see colour the same way that I see colour? As a person with and artistic training, it is possible that I look at colour differently from a scientist.  But do all artists or all scientists see the same, how do specialists in each discipline see colour? Does a chemist see colour differently from a physicist and do they see colour differently from a neurologist?  How much does our training contribute to our view of colour and do our professional silos prevent us from seeing the world as others do? As someone whose
practice crosses art, design and strays into science, I am always intrigued to know if the way we quantify colour helps or hinders us. Do colour metrics reflect our real life
experience of light and colour? Are we actually measuring the right things?

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