With 45,000 Units Shipped, Valkee’s Light-Emitting ‘Medical iPod’ Gets A Sleeker Look

After closing a $9.7 million round this summer, Finnish startup Valkee — which makes a light-emitting pair of earbudsdesigned to counteract seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — has put some of that cash towards a product refresh. The second generation of its product, Valkee 2, has been given a sleeker look and a variety of user-friendly tweaks.

The makers of the device, which Valkee’s co-founder Juuso Nissillä describes as a “medical iPod”, claim to draw on scientific research that suggests bright light stimulates brain activity to counteract SAD. The LED earbuds are designed to leverage that effect by allowing users to give themselves a daily dose of light directly into their ear canals — where the photosensitive areas of the human brain can be exposed to it.

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Valkee 2: A $269 set of light-emitting ear bud headphones that treat seasonal affective disorder

Valkee, a startup that treats seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with light-emitting headphones, has rolled out version two of its lightweight, inconspicuous ear buds.

The design for Valkee 2 is sleek and unassuming, with few garish design cues to put off any potential new users. Spotted by TechCrunch, the unusual headphones slot into a rather plain silver or black box (it could easily be passed off as a standard MP3 player in the street) with a single button to kick off a new light session.

The idea is that these headphones supplement the natural, positive effects that our bodies receive from everyday sunlight. The ear buds shine light through the ear canal and into photosensitive regions of the brain, improving your overall wellbeing and mental performance.

Valkee says users will feel the effects after just 12 minutes of use each day; hitting the button in the center of the console will then show a subtle circle of light that depletes throughout the session.

Valkee, based in Helsinki, Finland, raised 7.4 million euros ($9.7 million) in funding back in June. It’s an unusual product, but one that could be successful if the positive effects are noticeable and significant. The Valkee 2 is available to pre-order now for 199 euros (roughly $269) plus delivery costs and is due to ship sometime in October.
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