Jakob Sperry

The Brief

Sam Daitzman

Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) is a very common and potentially serious condition that causes fatigue, sadness and depression during the darker months. Smile Shade is a S.A.D. phototherapy treatment device that replaces an existing window shade and reinforces users’ circadian rhythms.
Statistics vary, but in some regions S.A.D. may affect up to one in three adults. The effects range from decreased productivity and lost work time to severe depression and even suicide. S.A.D. has a measurable effect on the stock market and workplace productivity and happiness. Many patients are misdiagnosed or treated with antidepressants (which have serious side effects) or existing light box phototherapy (which has over a 70% dissatisfaction rate among users). Traditional light boxes are ugly and easy to misuse; most patients receive an incorrect light dosage on most days, but phototherapy is at least as effective as antidepressants, with zero side effects when used correctly.

Smile Shade covers an existing window or simulates one on an empty wall. It includes a clinically effective dosage of bright light using an LED array embedded in a blackout curtain that blocks out early summer sunrises. An aesthetic curtain hanging in front hides the LED array. Smile Shade reinforces users’ circadian rhythms by blocking early morning sun, waking them up to a gentle simulated sunrise, providing ambient S.A.D. treatment if desired at correct doses depending on the time of year and symptoms, and then switches to providing soft ambient light. Smile Shade fades throughout the day like the sun, extending productive work time past early sunset, and simulates a gentle sunset before bedtime. We’ve designed the device to fit almost any window size and match any home decor.