HumanCharger: A pocket-sized bright light brain energizer
HumanCharger sends bright light directly to the most light-sensitive regions of the brain. Created by Finnish health technology company Valkee, the company claims that HumanCharger is the answer to fighting winter fatigue, improving mood, increasing mental alertness, and even fixing jet lag.
In 2005, biology student Juuso Nissilä began research on human brain photosensitivity. He shared his findings with childhood friend Antti Aunio, and together they created Valkee two years later. Valkee prides itself on promoting the benefits of bright light therapy around the world.
What is HumanCharger and how does it work?
As research has shown, the human brain is susceptible to changes in the amount of light it gets. HumanCharger is designed to boost brain activity by targeting photosensitive receptors in the brain. This small device sends bright light beams through proprietary LEDSet earbuds into the brain through the ear canal. The light stimulation triggers the release of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, positively affecting mood and decreasing fatigue.
HumanCharger is easy to use. Every bright light therapy session lasts just 12 minutes, the ideal amount of time to achieve desirable effects. HumanCharger does not require much charging itself — it works for 12 full sessions before needing a recharge. The product comes in two colors – black and silver. At 9mm thick, with dimensions of 75mm x 36mm, the device is compact enough to be carried in a pocket, or a small bag. The frame is made out of a single piece of aluminum, making it almost indestructible.
While HumanCharger was originally marketed as a cure for the winter blues, Valkee soon presented the device as a cure for jet lag to boost year-round sales. Since then, the product has been widely marketed as a travel essential, and multiple media outlets have tried to determine whether or not HumanCharger is actually capable of reducing the effect of time differences in travel. Some reviewers admitted a positive impact on their sleep patterns during travel; others deemed it inclusive. One dissatisfied reviewer criticized the device as overpriced, calling it “at best, a very expensive flashlight.”
Nevertheless, online commentary aside, the positive effects of light therapy have been long established by a range of recognized scholars. What Valkee has done is reinvent the traditional methods of light therapy, turning the large, heavy, non-mobile lamp into something quite sleek.