An Investigation into the Disruption of Circadian Rhythms using Blue Light for Automotive Applications 2015-01-1706
Melatonin, otherwise popularly known as the “sleep hormone” is known to govern the human circadian rhythms. Current studies indicate that the generation of melatonin is impacted by the ambient light. The natural sleep inducing behavior during night and in darkness, is also due to the same phenomenon. Studies have shown that light of particular wavelengths in the visible spectrum have a higher effect on the amount of melatonin secreted by the human body. Blue light in the wavelengths of around 468 nm is known to inhibit the melatonin secretion, the most. This branch of science known as photobiology is in its nascent stage and is a matter of research pursued by neurologists, endocrinologists and other lighting researchers. Photobiology has several potential applications in the automotive industry, the principal one being driver drowsiness prevention.
The key objective of the current paper would be to investigate the impact of blue light on circadian rhythms using a novel experiment, which emulates road conditions of monotonicity and high predictability encountered during night time driving on freeways. A mobile application was developed which contained the algorithm of detection. This mobile application was given to test subjects and the results measured. The paper would discuss on the methodology of the experiment and the algorithm. The results demonstrate that the alertness levels can be significantly impacted even when blue light is exposed for a short duration with lower intensities.