Interview: Claus Søgaard, Lightcare
Daylight has had a strong effect on humans since civilisation began. Now a new breed of lighting systems are putting the power of light under our control. Anna Mitchell learns more from Claus Søgaard, owner and CEO of Lightcare.
Light can have a huge impact on
how we feel; waking us up when
we’re tired, encouraging sleep
when we’re restless, calming us
down or energising us. Harnessing
that power can play a big part in improving the
lives of employees, patients and students, which
was exactly the aim of Claus Søgaard when he
established Lightcare in 2014.
Søgaard originally worked for Danish lighting
manufacturer Louis Poulsen before founding his
own company, Luminex, in 2000. Lightcare was a
spin-off from Luminex and sparked by Søgaard’s
desire to create systems that “can actually make
a difference for humans”.
The company was partly the result of hours
of research into lighting at academic institutions
all over the world and particularly in Europe. As
Lightcare started to develop systems they were
deployed in universities for further research,
expanding understanding of just how powerful
a tool like lighting can be.
It now has two locations in Denmark, one in
Copenhagen and the other in middle of Jutland.
Much of the company’s current work comes from
Denmark, Sweden and Norway but there has also
been interest from the UK, Australia and Dubai.
Many Lightcare systems are based on a
principle of circadian lighting and changing
the wavelengths of the light to achieve specific
goals. Lightcare software systems control all
wavelengths. “We know exactly which times
during the day you need blue wavelengths and
then we can strip the blue wavelengths out in
the evening and night so you get a more amber,
orange colour,” offers Søgaard as an example.
Lightcare products often integrate with thirdparty
products such as building control systems
and Søgaard mentions the huge future impact it
could have within the IoT.
A recent example of how a Lightcare system
has been successfully deployed was in a dementia
facility run by the Municipality of Billund in
Kathrin Terkelsen, the care centre manager,
explained the thinking behind the installation.
“We have studied a lot of articles concerning
light and AV systems to help dementia patients,”
she said. “All this I shared with Claus from
Lightcare and he agreed to make a state-of-theart
dementia room that everyone was able to
The Sense room uses lighting, sound, projection
and even smell to calm the patients and support
the therapy they are given in the space.
“We see that it calms down very aggressive
and agitated people with dementia and that
[means] we can reduce medicine cost and care
workers will get more time with other patients,”
adds Line Mathiasen, a physiotherapist at the
facility. “We also see that a sad or shy person
will be happier and get more life energy. It´s
easier for the staff to get closer to the patients
and get their confidence.”
With the lighting in the room exceeding
10,000 lux, Søgaard’s team opted for a
100-in dnp denmark LaserPanel. “We wanted
a projector that doesn’t make any sound
and a system that allowed us to make some
very bright light in the room,” Søgaard expands.
“We are able to have a very bright picture on
the dnp screen.”
When an appropriate control system couldn’t
be found, Lightcare stepped in again. “The
Lightcare operating system is essentially an
open source system and we programmed it to
control everything in this room,” says Søgaard.
The facility’s staff only need to press
a single button to pick a scenario and
the setup of the room is completely automated
including the start up and shut down of the dnp
denmark LaserPanel projector. The projector
start up and shut down takes less than ten
seconds so the room can be up and running
In another application, Lightcare was brought
on board to help a company trying to make sure
its shift workers on an oil platform in the North
Sea could rest when off duty and feel energised
when they were working.
“Most hospitals operate three shifts, but
this company only has two 12 hour shifts per
day,” says Søgaard. “They had a lot of problems
with headaches and circadian rhythms. The
employees found it hard when they returned
from work, it was almost like they had jet lag.
“We developed a special system that provided
bright light and when they had to go to
sleep, we reduced the light, made it calm,
reduced all the blue wavelengths and they
were able to sleep in the day and be
fresh for work.
"This is definitely the future of lighting, there is no doubt about that," continues Søgaard but adds there is still work to be done on increasing understanding around the world. His next aim is to make a true plug-and-play system and says software development is crucial to meet that goal.