Student's design for eye mask to beat jet lag reaches finals of national competition

An eye mask designed to help the body counteract the effects of jet lag won its inventor a highly commended accolade in the finals of a national design competition.

Monique Spoerri, a final year Product & Furniture Design student, came up with Lumen, a face mask which uses light therapy to minimise the disruption caused to a person’s body clock.

THUMB MoniqueSpoerri copy

She was chosen as one of just six finalists in the annual Design Innovation in Plastics competition, organised by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and the Worshipful Company of Horners and headline sponsored by hi-tech firm Covestro.

The competition brief, Products for Independent Travel, asked entrants to design an innovative product, primarily in plastic, that would provide a more comfortable and less stressful travel experience. Entries ranged from beach skis for wheelchairs and modular backpack systems to shower boxes.

Monique, who is from Switzerland, said: “I was very surprised but honoured to be considered for this competition and never imagined that out of all the students who sent in products that mind would be one those which stood out. The fact that someone is showing an interest in my design has really boosted my confidence and innovation.”

Monique researched the causes of jet lag and discovered it was linked to the disruption of the circadian rhythms, the body’s internal clock that signals when to stay awake and when to sleep. A direct way of adjusting to a new time zone is to influence the body’s amount of the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep.

Continuous and flashing light therapy are two ways of affecting melatonin and this mask offers a one-hour light therapy session that can be used to counteract jet lag before, during and after a flight. Exposing eyes to an artificial light that simulates sunlight for a specific time can help ease the transition to a new time zone.


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All six finalists were invited to a ceremony in London where the winner was announced. Monique’s Lumen design was highly commended. The winner was a design for an interactive sunshade for entertaining bored children.

INSET monique group

Monique, who graduated in the summer, has been offered a week’s work placement with competition sponsors, each of which are market leaders in the fields of design and innovation.

The Design In Innovation in Plastics Award is the longest-running student plastics design competition in Europe. It was established in 1985.

Posted on Thursday 24th August 2017

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