You may be aware that digital devices emit something known as blue light. While blue light isn’t harmful as such, it is thought to have a negative impact on your sleep. This is because it suppresses the hormone melatonin, which helps the body to sleep. You see, the human body is wired to go to sleep at night, and when your phone or tablet tricks it into thinking it’s daytime, sleep is hard to come by. Usually, our body clock is controlled by circadian rhythm – dictating when we get tired and wake up. Low melatonin can throw your circadian rhythm completely out of whack.
This may not sound so bad if you sleep well regardless, or if you’re a nocturnal being, but research shows that night time exposure can lead to conditions such as cancer, diabetes and obesity. It is also known to have an adverse effect on mental health, being strongly linked to depression in particular.
The Night time Niche
Over the past few years, as technology has developed and become more prominent in everyday life, hardware and software which purports to “protect” you from this blue light has hit the markets. This ranges from freeware such as F.lux, to hardware of the Blue Control ilk.
But until recently, such products have only managed to block minimum transmittance of blue light.
This is where Ocushield comes in. Developed by a student at City University of London, Dhruvin Patel, Ocushield has been tested and confirmed to block that all-important 30%> Blue Light.
For Patel, the journey has been one of unexpected surprises, as well as very welcome support. While working at Vision Express in Canary Wharf in the summer of 2013, Patel had his first encounter with blue light protectors, particularly the aforementioned Blue Control lenses. Naturally curious, he did some of his own research, both in the literature and through his own colleagues and mentors. He realised the need for a far more effective product, and promptly made the vacancy his niche.
On The Money
Of course, finding funding was the immediate concern. Patel already had a few initiatives going, including his own ecommerce platform, and resale of Opthalmic goods on eBay. It would take a bit more than that to get his blue light screen filter to market.
Fortunately, City University actively encourages and seeks out innovative entrepreneurs, embodied by their annual CitySpark competition. The contest gives students and alumni the opportunity to develop a business idea, test it on possible customers and, potentially, make it a reality. Patel entered and took the top prize of £500 for the first round. He used these funds in designing packaging and further developing the product.
The second round would need more charisma and a level of luck. There were sixty judges to persuade and, in it alone, he managed to speak to just ten. However, the product seems to have spoken for itself. This time he placed in the top five, taking away a total of £3000.
With the added resources available, he was able to invest in further research development, with the help of City University. With the improved capabilities, he has been able to bring his product into production and it is set for release in January 2015.
All in all, the journey has been successful, despite the occasional mistake, which Patel insists he has made along the way. With pre-orders already coming in, Ocushield is ready for an exciting launch. It’s a product to watch out for – your eyes and mind alike will thank you.