Jake Dyson’s new lighting product builds on the Lightcycle task lamp, which the company brought to market in March 2019. We reviewed it on its release, noting both the sophisticated technology that went into its construction and its extravagant price tag.
The key function of the original Lightcycle was to mimic the cycle of natural daylight – and thus its effect on a person. The theory behind it is that our circadian rhythms have been disrupted by the amount of time we spend indoors under unnatural electric lights, damaging our eyes and affecting our ability to get a good night’s sleep.
The light has other features, including correcting its brightness to account for the age of the user (basing this on information entered into the Dyson Link app). The updated Morph not only does all of this but adds functionality to make it more flexible for use around the house in different situations. It also emulates daylight in a more advanced way.
The new design is also likely to be less divisive than the original: it looks more like a lamp and less like an arcane metrological instrument.
Dyson has wisely avoided making any outrageous, GOOP-style promises about the lamp’s healthful efficacy. Instead the company is relying on the fact that we all know it’s kind of horrible to sit at a desk under a fluorescent light all day.
It’s the sort of health tech that may well work, especially given a push from the placebo effect. (Once you factor in the information that more expensive placebos work better, it’s as though the price of this product is part of the therapy.)
It certainly makes theoretical sense that the correct lighting at different times of day will wake you up, help you to focus, protect you from eye strain and, finally, allow you to wind down and sleep.
Apart from the potential health benefits, there's also the technophile catnip that is Dyson's engineering. In this case, it's the heat pipe technology that protects its LEDs and lengthens their lifespans.
The problem with LEDs is that when they overheat, their colour can be affected. As LED colour is a key component of the Lightcycle, Dyson had to figure out a way to keep them cool.
A couple of drops of water are placed in a tube next to the LED. The water heats up when close to the LED, cooling the bulb in the process. It then evaporates and rises up the tube. At the other end the water cools, condenses and runs down again to protect the LED. This means that LEDs should survive for their full potential lifespan and not discolour or expire from overheating.
The original Lightcycle was promised to last for 60 years – that is, without the replacing its LED. The press release for the Morph repeats this claim, on the basis of the light being used for eight hours a day.