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Quantifying biologically essential aspects of environmental light.

Authors
  • Nilsson, Dan-E1
  • Smolka, Jochen1
  • 1 Lund Vision Group, Department of Biology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 35, 22362 Lund, Sweden. , (Sweden)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of The Royal Society Interface
Publisher
The Royal Society
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2021
Volume
18
Issue
177
Pages
20210184–20210184
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2021.0184
PMID: 33906390
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Quantifying and comparing light environments are crucial for interior lighting, architecture and visual ergonomics. Yet, current methods only catch a small subset of the parameters that constitute a light environment, and rarely account for the light that reaches the eye. Here, we describe a new method, the environmental light field (ELF) method, which quantifies all essential features that characterize a light environment, including important aspects that have previously been overlooked. The ELF method uses a calibrated digital image sensor with wide-angle optics to record the radiances that would reach the eyes of people in the environment. As a function of elevation angle, it quantifies the absolute photon flux, its spectral composition in red-green-blue resolution as well as its variation (contrast-span). Together these values provide a complete description of the factors that characterize a light environment. The ELF method thus offers a powerful and convenient tool for the assessment and comparison of light environments. We also present a graphic standard for easy comparison of light environments, and show that different natural and artificial environments have characteristic distributions of light.

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