Life

Bright ideas

By Natalia Manzocco, Special to Postmedia Network

It's finally getting brighter outside. Indoors, however, the glow probably never went away. In recent years, tech companies have caught on to the novelty value of shoehorning little blinking bulbs into every gadget possible. Here's a few tech toys that take lights to new heights.

In university, I remember being super-jealous of my dormmate's shiny new MacBook and its gently pulsing power light. Not all of Apple's products boast that groovy external glow; if you want to capture some light for the back of your iPhone 4 (and are handy with a screwdriver), you may want to try this iPhone modification kit from LightMyiPhone.com. The kit comes with everything you need to illuminate the Apple logo on the back, whether you've a black or white iPhone. Installation is fairly simple, even if you're not used to cracking open your gadgets and mucking about inside -- the whole process takes only eight steps. The kits are currently $49.99 US at LightMyiPhone.com.

It's not just gadgets that are lighting up left and right: You can now enjoy a glowing, colour-changing shower, thanks to the BriteShower head. The lights are actually set to change colour based on the water temperature -- green for cold, blue for lukewarm and red for hot. Bonus: It uses the water running through it as an energy source, so you don't need to switch batteries, and installation is as easy as screwing it in where your old shower head used to be. If you have trouble getting the kids to take a bath, this just might be your solution. (In case you were wondering: There's also a BriteFaucet.) The BriteShower is available for $54.95 at briteshower.com.

These lights have more than just decorative value. The Valkee unit might look like a music player, but it's actually a "brain stimulation headset" created by Finnish scientists to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The "earbuds" are bulbs that blast light into your ear canals, eventually reaching light-sensitive areas of the brain. The device's makers claim the extra light channelled to your brain help combat mood swings and boost energy over those long, dreary winter months. (They also say it can regulate circadian rhythm, which could help with things like sleeplessness and jet lag.) It's available for $240 at valkee.com.

Of course, for many, the fun of having your smartphone, computer, DVD player and phone dock glow away happily in the dark while you're trying to get some shut-eye may have worn off. For those people, there's a simple way to make sure those LEDs never bother you again. Lightdims offers sheets of stickers cut in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit perfectly over that power button or blinking light, allowing for a peaceful rest at last. They'll still let about 20% of the light shine through, but for a total blackout, the company also offers "extra-strength" Lightdims. A sheet of more than 100 stickers goes for $5.99 at lightdims.com.

 


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