Edward Likovich on 2014-04-02 at 10.03 For Internet
Ari Meisel: Hi everyone. Welcome back at [0:00:03] podcast. Now, I’m going to be speaking
with Ed Likovich who is the CEO of a company called SunSprite which has an
Indiegogo campaign right now and he is concerned with how sunlight affects
our body. So Ed, thank your for taking a time to talk to me.
Edward: Thank you for having me.
Ari Meisel: So first of all, tell me about more a bit about SunSprite is. What is this device?
Edward: Yes, so SunSprite is wearable bright light and UV tracker. It’s completely solar
powered, connects to the low energy boot to an iOS device that provides an app
for coaching and lifestyle changes. We’re concerned about making sure that
people get enough sunlight and SunSprite is there to track it all for you.
Ari Meisel: So where do you wear this? You wear that on your shirt? You wear that on, I
mean how do you use it?
Edward: Yeah. It’s got a flexible magnetic attachment, so you can wear it basically any
way that you want. We’re concerned about the effect of light coming in through
your eyes which helps set your circadian rhythms. So you ideally want to wear it
in a place that roughly approximates what your eyes see.
Ari Meisel: Okay and what is the optimal level that it’s measuring? I mean how is it, what
have you based that on?
Edward: Yes. So there’s decades of medical research about 30 years of research that
have kind of identified a gold standard, a bright light which is 30 minutes a day
of 10, 000 watts of intensity.
So it’s both duration and its intensity and there’s a time of the day factor to
because you want to get your bright light early in the day so that it signals your
brain to wake up and on the other side of that when it comes time to go to
sleep, you want to avoid light so that your brain knows it‘s time to go to sleep.
Ari Meisel: Okay and then the Indiegogo campaign is going on right now. This, when this
podcast comes out the Indiegogo campaign will still be going but this is, you’ve
developed it, you’ve tested it right? When do you expect it to be able to actually
Edward: Yes. So we plan to ship in late June, early July right now. We’ve just started up
production and we’re really excited about it. We’ve got a great reception and
we’re really looking forward to improving people’s health.
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Ari Meisel: Okay, great. So that’s about the device which is great and I definitely
recommend people to check this out. We’re going to talk a little more about it
but I want to get into the sunlight stuff now.
So first of all, so I like that you said the goal standard is 30 minutes, 10, 000
watts but what happens when somebody is you know in Alaska or something in
the winter like what is that person supposed to do or someone who works in an
office all day like how can they benefit from this kind of information?
Edward: Great questions. For people who work indoors, there’s often very little lifestyle
changes that you could do to get light. So one of the most popular ones our
betatesters has been eating your breakfast or doing your morning e-mail or
drinking your coffee facing a sunny window. So you don’t even need to be
outside, it’s just bright light coming in through the eyes.
Now, for people who are in areas where you get virtually zero light or that’s not
even an option. There are number of companies who sell bright light boxes
which are about they sound like a giant light box that you can set onto your
desk and sit in front of it for 30 minutes a day.
Ari Meisel: And is there, so now this is going to measure just the amount of light you’re
getting right, but how are you, I mean is there anyway to sort of see the change
with this device or you’re just going to be able to see like a pedometer that
you’re getting enough?
Edward: So our initial release is focused on just measuring the light and then showing
you how your light surface score based on this 30 years of medical research. We
hope to build out a ton of other features and work study to have so many early
doctors to help us drive that process forward.
Ari Meisel: So what are some of the other uses you may be kind of see or so many other
information you might see using it for later on.
Edward: Sure. So right now we’re tracking bright light through the eyes. We also
measure UV light which is of interest to a lot of people for vitamin D, for
sunburn, for skin cancer and those sorts of things. So there’s a lot that we can
do with bright light for energy, bright light for sleep, UV for vitamin D, UV for
skin, and this is all going to be driven by our early doctors in what they are
Ari Meisel: And then with the device, the iOS app itself. So there’s a really great imagery on
the campaign which will include on my show notes, but basically is there
something you think people should be checking throughout the day or you
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know it’s like oh, it’s 6 o’ clock or 5 o’ clock and you haven’t gotten enough light
like go do something or how is that going to sort of a natural lifestyle change?
Edward: One of the interesting things we’ve found is just how largely unaware people
are about their lighting exposure and even those who are kind of focused on it.
So the eye is very good at adapting to different brightness levels. You think of
leaving a movie theatre. It’s dark and everything seems bright all of a sudden
and a minute later, it seems normal.
So we do like and we found in our betatesters that they are checking out quite a
bit because we report the crane intensity of light. So people are often interested
in how much light am I really getting in my bedroom and how much light do I
get up on facing this window and oh, I’m outside on a sunny day. Wow, that’s a
lot of light. I didn’t realize it was that bright. So there’s a lot of learning and
education that can go on as well as tracking your progress.
Ari Meisel: Great, okay and then sort of what guide are you interested in this range or out
of this area of science I guess?
Edward: Yes. So I say it’s a combination of two things. First is the team. I’d known our
CTO and co-founder Kasey Russell from our days at grad school and the team is
really a great collection of people and they captured my interest from the start.
The second is that I’ve had an interest in health and wellness. When I was an
undergrad, I worked on a Mental Health Awareness and Advocacy Council and
we were focused on raising awareness of things like seasonal depression which
is a real condition that affects a lot of people and that can be alleviated by
something as simple as getting the right amount of bright light at the right time
of the day. So I’m really motivated to make people happier, healthier and to
Ari Meisel: I mean, so I see you sitting in an office, is there something that you sort of used
to make your own changes in your life and the benefits you’ve seen from it.
Edward: Yeah, absolutely. We’ve, I think everybody in our families has tried it, we’ve
tried it and it makes a big difference. We have a light box to the left of us which
you can’t see very well here because our office is not the most windowed place.
As a tiny start up, we don’t have the money to afford a nice corner office. So we
have it on every morning and we make sure we get our light, we take walks
outside and they’re really small lifestyle changes and they do make a difference.
Ari Meisel: That’s great. Okay. So the campaign, when does the campaign end on?
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Ari Meisel: Oh, okay, this Friday. Great, so where should we go to find the best place to get
the SunSprite and afford them.
Edward: Yes, if you see this while our Indiegogo campaign is running, you can go to
indiegogo.com and just search for SunSprite near the top search box. Otherwise,
sunsprite.com and we’ll continue accepting pre-orders on our website after the
campaign is done.
Ari Meisel: Great. Ed, well thank you for that sort of that quick overview and I appreciate
you taking that time.
Edward: Thank you for having me.
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