By Ariel Schwartz
Winter's lack of sunlight can be depressing. In Sweden, the problem is especially bad--the northernmost areas of the country see just two hours of sunlight in the winter.
Umeå, a town about 300 miles north of Stockholm, doesn't have quite that much darkness, but it still only gets four hours of light in the depths of the winter months. That's why local energy company Umeå Energy is replacing billboards with overhead light therapy panels at 30 bus stops around the town.
Unlike with the sun, bus riders (and passersby who want a dose of light) should stand in front of the panels with their eyes open to get maximum benefit, according to Yahoo News. They should also spend as much time as possible standing in front of them (for professional light therapy, experts recommend getting half an hour of exposure each day). No radiation is emitted from the panels.
Unfortunately for Swedes who enjoy the panels, bus drivers have been complaining that the lights are blinding them. As a result, Umeå recently removed two of the lights where contrast with the road was proving to be an especially difficult problem. "Drivers and cyclists are having issues with the lights as well. The light is quite bright indeed and directed to the street outside the bus-stops, and I don't really like them," local resident Tomas Helleborg complained to The Local. "They're simply too bright when you're biking or driving past in the dark."
Copyright 2012 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.