Looking to address the nagging complaint that reading on backlit mobile screens causes eyestrain and disrupts sleep, e-book subscription service Oyster is introducing Lumin, a new feature that automatically adjusts the device’s screen to the light around it. The new technology is available today via an update of the Oyster app for Apple and Android devices.
Once Lumin is activated on a phone or tablet, and set to the user's location and time of day, the feature eliminates blue light emitted from the screens, gradually replacing it with a softer amber-orange light. The result, according to Oyster CPO Willem Van Lancker, is that the softer amber screen coloring reduces eyestrain, improves low-light reading, and makes it easier to fall asleep after late night reading.
The Lumin is intended to address complaints from consumers who prefer to read e-books on the non-backlit e-ink screens used on dedicated e-readers like the Kindle, Nook and Kobo devices.
“No one has tackled this problem with reading on mobile devices,” said Van Lancker, in an interview at the Oyster offices. He cited several studies on the problems created by excessive blue light, and its role in sleep disruption. The Oyster staff looked at the data and research, he explained, and rented the equipment for testing light. The company's staff then developed the technology in-house.
“Lumin causes screens to adjust constantly and mirror what happens with natural light,” Lanker said, claiming that the technology “is easy on the eyes and makes Oyster feel like reading a print book.” Lumin “makes a measurable difference in e-reading," he noted. "In the future this technology will just be built into our phones.”
Correction: in an earlier version of this story Willem Van Lancker's name was misspelled.