The Story

  1. Two of the Photon Team (Charlie Sharman and Brent Richards) met eminent Neuroscientist (Professor Russell Foster) over a drink after a Velux sponsored symposium in 2010.
  2. Russell told us about an incredible new scientific discovery he made. Apparently our body clocks (circadian rhythms) are set by light, but not through the rods and cones of our eyes.
  3. Russell had discovered a new type of non-visual photoreceptor, whose only function is to communicate with a part of the brain that sets our sleep/wake cycle.
  4. Charlie and Brent immediately saw where this might be heading when Russell asked us if we could build an all-glass building that people can actually live in.
  5. As this proposition exactly matches the skills and expertise we have, we told him we could and then went one better by building a Photon PodTM on the streets of Central London in 2013.
  6. Russell, plus his team from Oxford University, will be using 9 Photon PodsTM to research the positive effects of daylight on human biology as soon as the grant comes through.
  7. We could have stopped there, but it just seemed too important and too large an opportunity to do nothing.
  8. We started to ask questions of other academics, doctors, therapists and health providers.
  9. They confirmed that contemporary lifestyles are causing a number of serious problems: stress; bad sleep patterns; low energy; mood swings; mild depression; lower immunity to disease; and even a loss of libido.
  10. Amazingly they also said that prolonged disruption to your circadian rhythms can promote more serious medical conditions: diabetes; bi-polar disorder; schizophrenia; Alzheimers; Parkinsons; hypertension; and even some forms of cancer.
  11. You may already know this, but we were staggered that a lack of access to daylight could have such potentially serious consequences-so we asked the customers at Cantifix.
  12. It was embarrassing to find out that after nearly 30 years of building glass structures for people on their homes, the understanding about how light improves your health, mood and behaviour is instinctive.
  13. We were told that the glass structures Cantifix built for them has changed their lives and the lives of their family, because daylight just makes them feel better.
  14. When we researched this further we found a huge amount of scientific research into the effects of daylight had been done in schools, hospitals and offices- all providing evidence for an increase in productivity, alertness and concentration, as well as general well-being.
  15. On consideration this does seem obvious, because 195,000 years ago, at the birth of modern humans, we lived on the equator where 12 hours of night relentlessly follows 12 hours of day.
  16. It took humans 150,000 years to migrate the sort of distances we now fly in around 10 hours- causing jet-lag, which is a common example of your body clock getting out of sync with environmental time.
  17. We also have other light sources to control our surroundings nowadays and don’t have to rely on the rising and setting of the sun- herein lies the problem.
  18. If your body clock is set by non-visual photoreceptors, which communicate with your brain about the level of light, how can they tell whether it is the sun 93 million miles away or your laptop in front of your face?
  19. The way we lead our lives these days confuses our brains, upsets our body clocks and causes issues with our health, but are we really powerless to make a change?
  20. If we just saw the sunrise once a week we would benefit from the experience on a biological, as well as psychological, level.
  21. What if you want something more long-lasting?
  22. We have created The Photon SpaceTM to allow everyone to take back control of their lives.