Skip to main content

Boston teens introduce smart shade for fighting seasonal affective disorder

While those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying long summer days, thoughts of cold, dark months and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are easy to put out of our minds. A team of Boston teens, however, has been focused on battling this common form of depression. Their solution? The Smile Shade, a sunlamp that doubles as a roll-up window shade.

The group consists of four high school students; Andy Kreiss, Ethan Wood, Maia Levitt, and Micah Reid, who worked together on the project at NuVu Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their goal was to create a new way to treat SAD that replaces tabletop sunlamps, which they feel are inconvenient and limiting. Specifically, the team wanted to produce an alternative that does not require users to alter their daily routine or take up unnecessary space in the home or office.

Related Videos

Their smart shade hangs like any other traditional window curtain, so it doesn’t require any counter or table space. Once installed, the device shines light through the curtain, making it appear as though natural sunlight is streaming into the room. This more realistic-looking light adds to the psychological effect, according to the team.

As for convenience, the Smile Shade can be installed in a room that users frequent so that it fits seamlessly into their daily routine. Moreover, the device works with a smartphone, so the light can be set to an automatic schedule, be turned on or off remotely, or dimmed as needed. It serves as a creative solution, made all the more impressive by the creators’ young ages.

Nuvu Studio brings together middle and high school students to work on design, computer science, and engineering projects with the help of experts. Other exciting projects students have worked on to solve real-world challenges include a mask that aims to convey emotions by flashing corresponding colors, inexpensive but reliable cycling shoes, and a device that alerts users when they require more sunblock. If this generation is our future, we may just be okay.

Editors' Recommendations

Shades of Big Brother? Study finds smart TVs are keeping tabs on us
TCL 8-Series 4K QLED Roku TV

In the book 1984 by George Orwell, published almost exactly 70 years ago (and remarkably relevant, we recently noted), a totalitarian government watched its citizens through their television set. While that may seem like a wild, tinfoil hat-wearing kind of dystopia, it turns out that it wasn't too far off. Our televisions, and other smart devices, may be watching us after all, if not to that extreme level.

In a study by Princeton University, researchers found that internet-connected TVs have data trackers that record a surprising amount of things using bots.

Read more
Ikea isn’t throwing shade with the delayed release of its smart blinds
ikea fyrtur smart blinds

Ikea is the go-to company for any adult who misses the thrill of assembling a Lego set, but the DIY-nature of the furniture comes with a major benefit: significantly lower prices for good-quality furniture. These affordable prices extend to Ikea's Tradfri line of smart home products, which include smart lights, blinds, and plugs. The Swedish-based company announced that it has delayed the launch of its smart blinds until later in 2019 in order to improve the device's firmware. The Kadrilj and Fyrtur shades were previously expected to release in the United States in April 2019.

Fortunately, good news comes with bad. Because of this delay, the "smart" part of the blinds will be available when they launch, rather than later in the year. Ikea originally planned to add voice control through the Tradfri smart home app (and the ability to control the Tradfri app through Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant) in a firmware update after the blinds launched.

Read more
Elecpro Group introduces US:E smart lock with 3D facial recognition at CES 2019
elecpro use 3d facial recognition ces 2019 group us e lock


Smart locks and video doorbells are top-selling smart home devices. Following a late December Kickstarter campaign, Elecpro Group introduced the US:E smart lock at CES 2019 in two versions, one with 3D facial recognition and the other with fingerprint scanning.

Read more