Engineers in Germany have used LEDs to create a sky-like ceiling to provide the feeling of being outdoors, when inside.
Using 34,560 LEDs embedded in tiles spanning 34 square meters, the team from the Stuttgart-based Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO is trying to create outdoor conditions of clouds moving in the sky.
The engineers created 50x50cms tiles, each with a board holding 288 red, green and white LEDs, with a diffuser film, to allow the lighting to fill the room and provide the full spectrum of colours.
The engineers studied how light changes when clouds move across the sky and replicated these to provide a close replica.
The effects of the LED sky were tested using 10 volunteers who worked underneath it, they reviewed the changes in the lighting and 80% voted they preferred the rapid fluctuations in the sky effect.
A virtual sky is going to be exhibited at the CeBIT fair in Hannover this March. The hope is to produce versions of the ceiling to be used in offices to improve the environment for workers. The current cost of one square meter costs £827, although the price is said to come down, it is likely that managers will still see this as a costly initiative.