Back in January we noticed a clever little device which claimed to ease seasonal depression – sometimes known as Seasonal Affected Disorder or SAD.
The Finnish Valkee is Sci-Fi style device which literally shines light into your ear canals. Your wear it like a set of headphones on a music player.
Since then however, they’ve now been backed up by scientific research by the University of Oulu, Finland, that suggests the brain may be photosensitive [PDF of research]. The University’s research suggests the brain gets more stimulation from light delivered through our ears (remember this is bright light via this device, not normal daylight) than light delivered through our eyes. Sounds pretty odd but there you go.
Valkee says that by wearing the device for 8-12 minutes, users can stop being SAD and get happy. Because use of the device can also affect circadian rhythms, you could also use it to keep jet lag at bay – useful for those long flights to the Valley perhaps.
So this initial Valkee product (the brain stimulation headset) is almost designed for the tech market – for those who’d prefer to ‘get their wings’ using a gadget rather than a pill or drink. Like an electronic caffeine drink, even.
Valkee has raised €400,000 in Angel funding from Esther Dyson, former Nokia cheif Anssi Vanjoki, Jaiki/Ditto founder Jyri Engestrom and Lifeline Ventures.
TechCrunch readers can get a Valkee (it doesn’t ship to the US yet, alas but Euopeans are fine) by using a special code “VLKTC” for TechCrunch Readers, which gets you 20% off. The price is normally €185.