Weblog – And there was (too much) light

Weblog – And there was (too much) light

I suffered from insomnia for months. The posterity knew what to do. Set your phone’s night mode, my son tipped. It emits too much blue light, which makes you sleep worse. Done right away. It did indeed look calmer and seemed to help something.

Light has become blood-aggressive in the screen age. You notice that when you look at your smartphone in the dark. Fierce and uncomfortably intense, like a knife cutting into your retina. That’s what you get from that infotainment cult; everything must in your face, spectacularly filling the screen large, larger, largest. I have a problem with smartphones that I also have with the interiors of new cars; far too much and too bright light from surrounding light sources. Digital dashboards, steadily growing multimedia tablets, mood lighting that surrounds you like a trellis of penetrating light lines. In the Honda E and the Mercedes EQS, the displays already extend from door to door. People want it because it looks great and a little onboard entertainment is never a bad thing in a country where driving has become such a bloodless affair. But nowhere, thanks to increasingly prominent head-up displays not even through the windshield, can the eyes stare soothingly into the distance or nothing. And that causes stress, if only because everything in those cars in image and sound is constantly angling for your attention. The safety systems, the fatigue sensor, the telephone, the virtual controls; always something.

Light as a source of nuisance in cars should be discussed more often. What does that light pressure do to you? The risks are obvious. After bright dashboard lighting became fashionable at the end of the last century thanks to trendsetters such as the Golf IV, reflections increasingly became a source of irritation and confusion. The reflection of those brightly piercing colors in the side and windshields was as disorienting as the headlights of fellow road users in raining windows. But it was child’s play with what was to follow.

What do light overdoses do to the ability to act and the psyche? Everyone knows that a bright light source is blinding in the dark. After that, the eye needs time to get used to the dark again. A child understands that the contrast between interior lighting and the darkness outside should not be too great. So it is now and not just a little.

Car designer Niels van Roij, one of my favorite conversation partners in the automotive field, told me how he built a full-size car interior as a graduation project. He also discussed the topic of dashboard lighting with optometrists. They explained to him how too great a contrast in light intensity between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ led to fatigue, especially in the dark. So for your safety, that should not be greater than strictly necessary; enough was enough. Niels went on to tell me that BMW had conducted extensive research in the 1970s into the impact of dashboard lighting on drivers. The warm, not too pungent orange house color that young-timer enthusiasts will remember from older BMWs turned out to be the safest and most stress-free solution for body and mind. Interesting phenomenon; I remember those brilliant BMW dashboards back then as pretty bright. If you pass an old BMW at night, it seems completely dark inside. The light of the past compares to today’s fairground displays like a tea light to a fireworks show.

Manufacturers won’t be turning back the clock anytime soon. The sun simply sells better than the twilight. But think about what Niels and the undersigned both experience when they get into their old, dimly lit Volvos; peace. The journey begins and you leave behind all useless incentives. You are on your way to your destination, nothing more. Well, now and then you signal annoyed to an oncoming vehicle with such an annoyingly brutal LED or laser beam in the nose. Then you think: Really dimming yes? Furthermore, Zen is still king with us from the Association for Old Swedes. You don’t see us, or just enough. But we are the light in the darkness.

– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl

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