A Jetlag Remedy, Now in VR

jetlite VR

Image: Vance Walstra

Lighting affects our circadian rhythms, but can it also work inside a virtual reality headset? Jetlite and Inflight VR, two startups that met at Airbus BizLab, are putting the idea to trial. Raphael Baumann, chief commercial officer of Inflight VR, remembers thinking at the time, “It would be cool to have this lighting technology integrated into our virtual world.”

“Light is the most effective simulator of your inner clock” – Dr. Achim Leder, Jetlite

The companies are showcasing a prototype to demonstrate different lighting scenarios inside a VR headset. Passengers can select their travel conditions – daytime or nighttime flight and direction of travel – and the lighting in the virtual cabin will adjust accordingly to minimize jet lag: reddish if they’re winding down for the evening or bluish if they’re trying to stay alert.

“Light is the most effective simulator of your inner clock. Stress, food, work and sports do have an influence but light is the most powerful time shifter,” said Dr. Achim Leder, who has studied the topic for five years. His findings have been adopted by Lufthansa and Recaro, among others. While the VR application is still in testing, Leder believes, in theory, the solution should work as it doesn’t make a big difference which lighting source is used for jetlag reduction.