The Cycle vs. Night Mode for Sleep

What if you could decrease the amount of light, even blue light, coming from your screen and increase focus through the same process? Lumiate utilizes a patent-pending stimulus, cyclically altering the hue of the entire displaying, to decrease the amount of certain wavelengths while increasing focus like visual white noise.

Let’s start with what’s new: focus.

Lumiate works by managing your attention through what’s called “perceptual load,” an intuitive theory of attention. Our brains have a limited amount of attentional capacity. But this doesn’t create focus problems in the way that you may think. We have problems with focus because our brains must use all of their attentional capacity. When we’re trying to do something that isn’t using all of our attentional capacity, our brains pick up stimuli that are irrelevant to the task at hand: distractions. This could be something external, like a person talking next to you. Or, it could be internal, like anxieties and worries about things that aren’t happening in the present moment. These distractions can rise to prominence, causing interference.

Ever been to a party?

Imagine you’re at a party. Music is playing. Everyone is talking, having a great time. In fact, you’re having a conversation with someone that’s captivating your attention. It’s like you’re the only two people in the room.

This phenomenon occurs because our brains process task-relevant stimuli first, before distractions. If a task-relevant stimulus uses all of your attentional resources, none of the distractors will be processed. In this “high load” scenario, distractions never reach your attention.

Cutting through the noise

Ambient noise and background music do a great job of increasing perceptual load in general. The problem is, if you’re doing visual work, it’s not task-relevant. This is where Lumiate innovates. Unlike task-irrelevant background noise, the Lumiate effect is visual on screen and therefore task-relevant. While background noise competes with distractions, relevancy gives Lumiate and your workflow priority over distractions.

Wouldn’t Lumiate distract me?

To answer this question, we’ll have to get into the weeds a bit.

Conventionally, other applications on your screen communicate through relative differences in absolute pixel values. For example, your brain says this thing is blue because that is more yellow. This text is black because the pixels surrounding it are white, etc. Lumiate on the other hand communicates through globally more red, more blue, and more green. By subtly shifting every pixel in the same way, relative pixel-to-pixel perception is preserved. This allows you to see things “normally.”

As far as the effect itself, it’s constant and gentle. This means that once you know what it is, it’s no longer a cause for concern, and it stops alerting you. True, it will slightly decrease the relative difference in absolute values of red, blue, and green. For this reason, you can adjust the intensity of the effect if you are doing low contrast work.

Further implications

Because the Lumiate effect is visual, it doesn’t affect what you hear. This sounds elementary, but ultimately means you can do anything while you use Lumiate. This means you can use Lumiate for more than just work. Whether you’re streaming video, playing games and/or listening to music, Lumiate can help you focus.

Back to sleep: average light consumption as light consumption

While the role of red vs. blue light at night is still being debated, we know that the amount of light from screens before bed is important. Because Lumiate is cyclical, the average light filtered during the cycle effectively determines the cumulative light absorbed. Plus, you can select your desired color based on preference.

Further reading

Murphy, G., Groeger, J. A., & Greene, C. M. (2016). Twenty years of load theory — Where are we now, and where should we go next? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23(5), 1316–1340. doi: 10.3758/s13423–015–0982–5

Research review that argues “the next step for load theory will be the application of the model to real-world tasks. The potential benefits of applied attention research are numerous, and there is tentative evidence that applied research would provide strong support for the theory itself, as well as real-world benefits related to activities in which attention is crucial.”

Perceptual load theory (Wikipedia)

Outlines the three core assumptions or principles of load theory that Lumiate leverages and seeks to validate.

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