Bed-ridden with glandular fever in his final year at Stanford University, Professor Leon Lack found himself absorbed in one of Sir John Eccles’ neurophysiology books. He dashed off a letter to the famous professor, asking if the Australian National University had a good school to study the interplay of mind and body. To Lack’s delight, Eccles wrote back – and suggested he try Adelaide.
He spent seven years completing his PhD, before taking up a job at Flinders in the infant psychology department in 1972. After many years of research into the role of light in setting and disrupting sleep patterns, Re-Timer glasses were created and in 2012 they were released, with production located right here in Adelaide. The Re-Timer glasses use LED lights to adjust people’s circadian rhythms and have now been sold around the world.
They have found particular appeal with teens having trouble adjusting their sleep, people on permanent night shift who need to ensure they are alert at night and asleep during the day, and people wanting to recover from jetlag faster. After only four years on the market, more than 25,000 pairs of the glasses have been sold, but Professor Lack says the social benefit is most important to him.
“It’s never going to make me millions, but it’s really satisfying to see our research bearing fruit in a commercial product that people are now using around the world to benefit their health,” Professor Lack said.