Public therapy light to fight Seasonal Depression

6 weeks


Team of 4

Philips Lighting

LightLounge is a public lounge with therapy light that allows citizens to compensate for the lack of sunlight during dark winter days.

The Challenge
  • What is our definition of a caring city?
  • How can we use light in an innovative way as a medium of a caring city?

  • A working prototype of a LightLounge model
  • Screen prototype for the kiosk

The Problem

People who live further north in the northern hemisphere are often familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the “winter blues” or “winter depression." SAD is a mood disorder in which people who usually have normal mental health experience depressive symptoms as the seasons change.

SAD affects people both mentally and physically. The lack of sunlight causes three significant issues, which can lead to severe follow-up problems such as the following:

About two-thirds of people with significant depression never seek appropriate treatment from different causes. The reasons for this include social stigma, mistaking it for temporary sadness or believing it will go away after some time.

The Goal

1. Help the citizens of Boston to fight seasonal depression.

2. Bring the mental health care to a more publicly accessible level.

Concept Sketches

Understanding the User

User Persona

Boston, MA

  • Office Worker
  • 32 years old
  • Commutes by MBTA
  • Relies heavily on caffeine

Sara is aware that she feels tired in cloudy days and she's affected by seasonal moods. She doesn’t have time to take care of her mood changes and mental health. She could use some holidays, but her hectic work schedule won’t allow that. She cares about her health and productivity, so she takes multivitamin pills especially in the winter.

  • Managing her health, both physical and mental
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Stay productive during the winter

  • Doesn't have enough time or money to go to see the psychiatrist.
  • Afraid of her family knowing about her visiting the psychiatrist.

First Iteration

Concept Renders

First Prototype

Feedbacks & Reflections

Second Iteration: Final Form

  • People can enter in and out without restriction.
  • Users can tap their Charlie cards (Nickname for Boston's MTA card) when entering the LightLounge, to track how much light they are getting from the LightLounge.
  • Users encounter a kiosk before entering the lounge where they see the visualized data and tap their cards.
  • Users don't need to tap the card on their way out. The proximity sensor terminates the time tracking when the user leaves the lounge. This is due to the fact that when the train arrives, users must leave without any delay.

User Journey


Sara wakes up to go to work. It’s still dark at this time, and it’s slightly raining. She feels tired and doesn’t feel like she’s fully waken up. She sits up for a while and then gets off to work.


Sara walks to the end of the platform to the LightLounge. She taps her Charlie Card to see how much light she’s getting.


Sara enjoys simulated sunlight at the LightLounge while waiting for the train.


When the train arrives, she walks out without tapping the card. The proximity sensor senses user walking out, and updates her light acquisition data.


Sara goes to work feeling less tired. Using LightLounge every day on her commute improves her sleeping cycles in the long-term, and help reduce her caffeine intake. Her productivity at work is improved as well as her overall mental and physical health.

Kiosk Screen

When a Charlie card isn't tapped
The screen on the kiosk shows information about LightLounge when it's resting: what it is and why you need it.

Tap on the Charlie card to see how it changes!

When a Charlie card is tapped
The screen shows how much sunlight the person got with LightLounge.

This prototype is made with Framer. Click around!