In the Arctic latitudes we have a condition that most others closer to the equator don’t know of, its called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or winter depression for the rest of us. It is mainly due to the lack of sun light we get in these latitudes during the winter time. According to the all knowing Wikipedia in Northern Europe 2% of the population suffer from winter depression and roughly 10% feel slightly down beat during the dark winter months. I personally only need a bit more sleep during the winter time, but I’m pretty hyper anyway, so perhaps a bad proxy. That said, Wikipedia also tells us that Symptoms of SAD may consist of: difficulty waking up in the morning, tendency to oversleep as well as to overeat, and especially a craving for carbohydrates. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities. Some might think one is just describing the average Finn.
Why we get this the winter depression is because the lack of light causes a chemical reaction in our brain. Now a Finnish company Valkee, founded in 2007 from the city of Oulu, has come out with solution. The solution is a small gadgety device that has led light ear buds that project different quantities of light through ears’ auditory canal onto certain parts of the brain that react to light. The persons behind the innovation are Juuso Nissilä and Antti Aunio.
Now the company has finished clinical tests in co-operation with the University of Oulu and ODL terveys Ltd., which gave very promising results. According to the company, not only the winter depression was completely cured, but also the intellectual capacity of the test persons got a big boost. Encouraged by the great test results, the company thinks that it is very likely that it is not only those who suffer from winter depression.
Finnish daily Kaleva knows (In Finnish) to tell that the gadget will come to stores in February this year and cost around €200.
Even though I’m not suffering from a winter depression per se, I don’t mind having slightly higher energy level especially during the first few hours of the morning before I have poisoned myself with enough coffee. Let alone having increased intellectual capacity. Who doesn’t want that?! Thus even though I have my bona fide Phillips Wake-Up Light all tweaked up, I would buy a Valkee in a heartbeat. Especially if I could trade my Sennheiser earbuds and the Wake-Up Light to a set of Valkee earbuds that do both: Connect me to my Spotify playlist while at the same time make me smarter the more I use them.