Bues and his colleagues tried different sky scenarios on a group of 10 volunteers in a work setting. They tested a static sky for a whole day, then a gently fluctuating one, and after that a rapidly changing sky. For the final day of the study, the volunteers could control the lighting. Most chose to replicate the fast-changing, dynamic light. At that rate, maybe the desk seems like it's physically going somewhere.
The virtual sky isn't necessarily a quick and easy ceiling tile replacement, though. For now, it costs a hefty 1,000 euros per square meter, which translates into approximately $130 per square foot. However, the research team has said they expect the price to go down and become more cost effective, especially since the system uses energy-efficient LEDs.
Currently the group has a prototype of the virtual sky containing more than 34,000 LEDs. The Fraunhofer team will be showing it off at a trade fair in Germany this March. That's just in time for spring, when cubicle farm workers everywhere will be looking for some precious daylight.
Image: Fraunhofer IAO