IRIS SkyCeiling Dynamic Illumination in a Sky Illusion
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for Luminous SkyCeilings

Experience the Living Rhythm of Daylight

IRIS is the first multifaceted daylight-quality illumination system with calibrated, custom-arrayed LED modules that capture the dynamic arc of daylight by gracefully depicting color temperature and light intensity modulations within a photographic Open Sky CompositionTM designed to generate a credible depth illusion.

IRIS SkyCeilings are ideal for enclosed and isolated interiors where boosting occupant wellbeing is possible by incorporating an effective visual and spatial reference point to daylight’s progression in their workplace. IRIS can be programmed to match the sunrise-to-sunset time of a given facility by geographic location and time of year.

IRIS-enabled SkyCeilings can also be used as a biophilic and therapeutic feature by programming the sunrise-to-sunset arc using a Pharos Touch Panel Controller to cue a patient session (e.g. 15, 30, 45 minutes) with a beautifully nuanced array of daylight and color while a diagnostic, therapeutic, or other procedure takes place.

IRIS—Powered by Intertwined Algorithms

IRIS-enabled SkyCeilings feature PRiSM & DiAL, two proprietary algorithms that bring Sky Factory’s illusory overhead skies to dynamic life.


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PRiSM Proprietary index of Spectrum Modulations

PRiSM is an algorithm composed of seven weighted wavelengths that endow the tunable color temperature modulations in IRIS-enabled SkyCeilings with the most subtle hue and saturation gradients available in a commercial virtual skylight product.


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DiAL (Daylight Intensity Algorithm)

DiAL (Daylight intensity Algorithm) is a function that mimics the random illumination variability inherent in daylight when clouds pass beneath the sun. By studying cloud buildup and measuring their drift patterns, Sky Factory engineers have generated an algorithm that mirrors the variety of Heraclitean Motion found in drifting cloud patterns overhead.

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IRIS-enabled SkyCeilings feature two proprietary algorithms that bring Sky Factory’s illusory overhead skies to dynamic life. Sky Factory’s design framework leverages compositional principles and cognitive mechanics to produce the only large format sky imagery with published studies (HERD Journal, 2014, 2015) that document their unique activation of areas of the brain associated with spatial cognition and depth perception.

This artistic framework uses biophilic neuroaesthetics—these are cloud patterns that resonate with our universal experience of sky events—to replicate daylight’s natural flow within the SkyCeiling’s perceived opening, thereby generating a convincing sky illusion.

IRIS-capable SkyCeilings employ a curated collection of fMRI-verified Open Sky Compositions whose cloud patterns are suited to enliven the natural rhythms of daylight through the work of two algorithms—PRiSM and DiAL, the system’s circadian and ultradian rhythm modulators. These biophilic and therapeutic rhythms are generated by the IRIS-equipped LED lighting system (patent pending) that powers each unit.

IRIS SkyCeiling NASA POD PRiSM and DiAL contest version RECALIBRATED

NASA Demonstration

NASA Demonstration Project

In the fall of 2022, Foster + Partners and Branch Technology brought Sky Factory to participate in a unique project for NASA, the American space agency. The team had entered a 3D Printed Habitat Competition, part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program that seeks to accelerate the development of technologies to manufacture off-world habitats for extraterrestrial exploration.

Foster + Partners designed a modular human habitat that leveraged Branch Technology’s proprietary Cellular Fabrication 3D printed technology to manufacture these PODs on planetary surfaces like the Moon and Mars. Sky Factory was brought in to custom-design hexagonal skylights that would generate a dynamic overhead sky illusion that would entrain the occupants’ biorhythms by providing the necessary multisensory cues about time of day on Earth (our terrestrial 24 hour cycle) within a credible skylight framework.

The IRIS-enabled SkyCeilings installed in the demo PODs, utilized Sky Factory’s new IRIS (Integrated Retinal Illumination System) that provides the physiology with vital cues to maintain our underlying sleep-wake cycle, supporting mental alertness and restoration in enclosed interiors, while also neutralizing the claustrophobic nature of isolated spaces.

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The hexagonal NASA PODs (Prototype Outfitting Demonstrators) became the first man-made structures featuring this unique, multilayered illumination system. However, IRIS was specifically designed to counter the deleterious impact of isolated interiors in deep plate healthcare and commercial buildings.

IRIS-enabled SkyCeilings and the algorithms that generate its sensorial and spatial cues about time of day support our physiology’s basic need to remain in sync with the diurnal passage of time. Positive entrainment aids quality sleep, which in turn enable the body to heal and repair, as well as sharpen mental acuity and performance throughout the day. 

Occupants who labor in enclosed interiors devoid of a meaningful connection to nature and a quality daylight connection suffer from chronic fatigue, mental fog, and acute stress. By incorporating a multilayered LED illumination system that supports the diurnal passage of time without a credible illusion of vertical depth, IRIS SkyCeilings support human wellness, balance the emotions, and drive both work satisfaction and productivity.

Psycho-Physiological Benefits for Staff & Patients

While circadian rhythms in the physiology are endogenous or self-regulating, sensory cues from our environment, particularly the quantity and quality of light, serve as entrainment cues that enable the physiology to adjust our basic wake-sleep cycle.

In healthcare settings where both clinical staff and patients often spend extended periods of time in spaces bereft of environmental cues signaling time of day, IRIS-enabled SkyCeilings become a valuable architectural feature to entrain biological rhythms.

IRIS helps maintain the physiology’s circadian rhythm (it’s sleep-wake cycle), as well as reduce mental fatigue by providing support for focused attention, an ultradian rhythm that is responsive to daylight’s organic intensity variability.

IRIS SkyCeilings are suitable for most healthcare and imaging settings. However, IRIS is not yet MRI compatible. Contact a Sky Designer today.


IRIS Tunable Lighting Features

Patented Architectural Reveals

IRIS is compatible with Aperture, Revelation, and Custom SkyTile elevators that raise the image panels above the ceiling plane, sculpting the illusion of depth.

Proprietary Open Sky Photography

By setting up gravitationally correct sky photography (perpendicular to the ground), our photographers capture the zenith and generate the most credible overhead sky illusion.

Available in Multiple Sizes

IRIS-enabled SkyTiles are available in rectilinear, circular, elliptical, and custom dimensions.

IRIS Circadian Lighting Compatible

View our library of select Open Sky Compositions™ artfully composed for IRIS SkyCeiling.


IRIS Circadian Lighting Benefits

Supports Circadian Entrainment

IRIS mimics daylight’s natural changes in color temperature and intensity according to time of day and season. Exposure to cooler and brighter light during the day and warmer, softer light in the evening helps regulate circadian rhythms, contributing to better sleep-wake cycles.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Sky Factory’s Open Sky Compositions for IRIS SkyCeilings support occupant wellbeing by staging an illusory sky whose dynamic lighting modulations provide the therapeutic benefits of a visual connection to nature. Mitigates the effects of burnout in isolated interiors.

Supports Alertness/Productivity

Cool and bright daylight-quality light, especially during the morning and early afternoon, helps increase mental acuity and improve concentration. Tunable lighting systems can be tailored to provide optimal lighting conditions for various tasks, potentially boosting productivity.

Improves Sleep Quality

Circadian rhythm support through tunable lighting has a positive impact on sleep quality. Exposure to cooler light during the daytime can enhance alertness, while warmer light in the evening signals the body to wind down, potentially improving the quality of sleep.

IRIS Compatible Sky Factory Products

The unique benefits of IRIS tunable lighting are available in our Aperture and Revelation SkyCeilings in any size and configuration and in our Classic SkyCeilings using 3’x3′ (90cm) SkyTiles. At this time, IRIS Tunable Lighting is not MRI Compatible. Speak with a Sky Designer today.


IRIS Open Sky Compositions

We have dozens of exclusive Sky Factory Open Sky Compositions that are ready to use with IRIS. From blue skies and cumulus clouds to cirrus clouds and foliage, we have images to match your IRIS design ideas.

View IRIS Images