‘Light up the dark’

An experiment to light up the lives of local children through the winter months

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The ‘Philips light up the dark’ experiment launched in February 2015, used light to transform the lives of local residents and children in a small community in Uppsala, Sweden. The experiment is the first in a series where Philips will strive to improve people’s lives by providing innovative solutions and ideas to particular challenges.

The situation

Light is a scare commodity in Sweden, with darkness falling mid-afternoon each day during winter it can be especially hard for children who need the physical activity of outdoors play for their well-being.

Light plays a vital role in life, fueling the energy to work, play, create, exercise and interact. It’s especially critical for children, allowing outdoor play that’s essential for cognitive, emotional, physical and social development. More time outside means less time watching television or playing computer-games, leading to better overall well-being, sleep quality and study concentration skills.

The experiment

In February, 2015, Philips CityTouch connected LED lighting was installed and illuminated Tegnérparken Playground in the city of Uppsala north of Stockholm. The lighting gives local children in the community a chance to play outdoors, even during winter’s darkness. The experiment was conducted together with lighting design consulting firm Bjerking and the municipality of Uppsala

The lighting will remain as a permanent fixture, however for the first two week’s following the installation Philips teamed up with the local Kindergarten and captured a number of metrics to gauge if the children responded in a positive way to having more time outside to play. Specifically, Philips looked at, sleep, play and well-being.

The results

Key findings of the experiment:

  • Prior to the installation of the lighting in the park the children spent an average of 72 minutes a day playing outside. In the week following the installation, this rose to an average of 99 minutes of outdoor play time a day - a 37% increase in time spent outdoors each day once the park had been lit.
  • During the same period, time spent playing inside with electronic games or watching television dropped from an average of 72 mins a day to 61 mins a day.  This 15% reduction represents approximately one hour less per week spent in front of a television or playing electronic games.
  • 86% of parents surveyed reported that their children generally spend less time outdoors playing in winter time.
  • 57% of parents report seeing a noticeable improvement in their child’s mood when they play outside.  They report the child being ‘more content’.  28% of parents report their child as having a better appetite after outdoor play.  43% report a positive impact on sleeping patterns.

Philips believes it can always make life better and through a series of living lab experiments the company aims to provide innovation solutions and ideas to particular challenges in order to improve people’s lives around the globe.  The Philips ‘Light up the dark’ experiment in Sweden is the first of many experiments that bring Philips closer to achieving its vision of improving the lives of three billion people a year by 2025.

For more information on the lighting solution used in this project click here