With the winter here it is perfect time for a new lamp that helps fights the winter blues and much more. Dale Dell’Ario is the inventor of the Ario Lamp and behind the crowdfunding campaign which has already raised over $160,000 on kickstarter, Dale was kind enough to take some time out and answer questions about his new lamp.
What is your background?
I’m a mechanical engineer with 40 years’ experience in commercial, consumer, medical, and lighting products, and dozens of products working for companies like Hewlett-Packard and SpaceLabs Medical. I have a BS and MS in engineering product design from Stanford.
Light is the main way our body tells time. In the evening our body would normally produce melatonin to relax, and restore, and in the morning cortisol to awaken, alert us, help us concentrate and work. Natural light cycles are dynamic. Indoor lighting is static, and this throws off our body clock and entire metabolism. The levels of these two hormones are dramatically reduced with indoor light exposure and our body timing is off. What we consider normal indoor lighting is too bright at night and prevents our body from producing melatonin, during the day it is often insufficient for good cortisol production. Since our body clock is off, when we want to wake, our bodies feel they should be still sleeping.
I heard you light is the coolest, tell us why?
The Ario lamp uniquely changes light direction and color automatically to help sync your body clock and restore normal hormone production. With proper light exposure we are more resistant to disease, manage weight better, sleep better. During the day we have more energy and are more alert.
Ario automatically creates a schedule based on your location and season and preferences then improves it over time by learning about your habits. It can wake you gently, improving your mood and relax you at night. It is cloud connected via WiFi which allows machine learning and special features like helping your prevent jet lag by scheduling around your travel plans. It produces great lighting, enough to light a good sized room by itself and is styled elegantly to not call attention to itself.
what made you decide to do it?
While studying smart lighting I discovered a decades deep body of research about the impact of light on health. I looked for products that would address the problem of improper light exposure and found only partial solutions. I saw an opportunity to help a lot of people be more healthy by creating an easy to use product.
why kickstarter? We did early testing and a lot of it to see if this sort of lighting would work and appeal to people. We wanted and are receiving the social proof in the form of pre-orders that consumers were ready for our product. Kickstarter is a great platform with a huge audience and they have taken good care of us. They have been a big boost to sales.
what is the funniest challenge you had? Building the fully functional prototypes has been pretty funny, in particular forming the lamp head with a wooden die set I built, a sledge hammer, and about 200 smashes per lamp head. This sounds crude but the results have been pretty professional. We have videos of this process. Similarly, forming the plastic diffusers in our home oven is a pretty funny process involving three people, lots of clamps and a bit of yelling.
are you surprised with the success? I worked on this project myself during the early research phase. To have found a talented team that would work with me for the past two years with no salary is amazing. To hear people talk about how much they love the design and what the lamp does for them is super gratifying and a lot surprising.
what advice for other kickstarter peoples?
You cannot expect a cool product that satisfies a need will sell itself. Find and read Tim Ferriss’ 4 hour work week article on Hacking Kickstarter. here is a link. The main message is you need to get the word out, big time. That means building an email list way in advance. We had nearly 10,000 and know that qualified email addresses convert to sales better than anything. Start talking to Kickstarter early and sell them on your idea. They can help your campaign a lot! Reach out to successful projects similar to yours and talk to their creators. Most are very generous with good advice. Put together a team. We’ve done it with four dedicated people and we could use double that number which is hard with no money. We did raise money to help fund the campaign. You need a good video and that costs $$$, and will want a PR firm….more $$$. You can do this DIY though you had better start more than a year in advance of your campaign with lots of volunteers creating relationships with bloggers and media. Even with a videographer it takes months to produce a good video. Finally read all you can about how to do it. It’s like getting ready to have a baby but takes more effort!!