You remember ET’s finger?
Freakishly long? Luminous? Capable of reanimating dead human tissue?
Yeah, that one.
The Kia Telluride — announced this week at the North American Auto Show — is a concept SUV that will feature Light Emitted Rejuvenation (LER), a technology that Kia claims can boost the health of the vehicle’s occupants. According to the South Korean carmaker, the LER system can analyze a passenger’s vital health information and then emit patterns of therapeutic light to improve health and energy levels via a massive, wing-shaped LED panel.
Does this sound like a load of doggy doo? Certainly. But the light, which can also theoretically help with jetlag, might actually work. We investigated.
What’s the history behind the LER system? The technology behind LER originated in the late 1960s, when scientists began experimenting with Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT). Things further evolved in the ‘90s, when NASA developed LEDs to provide lights that would help a wound heal and assist with regrowing tissue in case an astronaut was injured in space and stuck in, like, total f***ing darkness.
Why LEDs? The intersecting beams they produce create photon interference which subsequently produces higher photon intensities and penetrates below the surface of the target tissue.
That sounds confusing. It is, but don’t worry about it. It was basically determined that LEDs can speed up the healing of wounds, treat inflammatory acne and even assist with skin rejuvenation.
OK, but we’re not talking about a laser probing my blackheads. Well, at some point, people got the bright idea of using LEDs to treat non-physical problems like bad moods, disrupted sleep cycles and a lack of energy. The LER panel in the Kia is an extension of that.
Where else is LER technology found? It isn’t always referred to by that name, but you can buy a device from Phillips that’s supposed to chase away the winter blues and boost your energy by emitting the same wavelength of blue light that occurs naturally on clear sunny days.
There’s also a contraption called a HumanCharger that can pump UV-free, blue-enriched white light into the light-sensitive regions of the brain if you plug some headphones into your ear canals. In theory, the sunshine substitute can help travelers crossing time zones recover from jet lag more quickly than they normally would.
So does this poppycock actually work? We believe NASA about the moon landing, so we’re going to take their word about the LED results as well. The jury is still out about the LER system in the Kia, but since the SUV is still in a concept phase, that is somewhat of a moot point.