Why you can trust ZDNet
ZDNet independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.Our process
'ZDNet Recommends': What exactly does it mean?
ZDNet's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.
When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.
ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.
The Valkee Human Charger is sold as a device to beat the winter blues in the UK. It claims to prevent or shed common winter blues symptoms "improving energy level, improving mood, increasing alertness, reducing carbohydrate cravings, and improving cognitive performance".
In the US, the ""=""> is missing from the product description. This seemed strange as the page on Amazon.co.uk is full of information.
Apparently the human body is sensitive to light exposure to regulate your circadian rhythms. This is why we go to bed when it is dark and wake during the light. In a different time zone, getting exposure to daylight helps your body readjust to the new time to go to sleep.
This charger shines light into the ear to help the brain and body "respond to changes in light and darkness". The science geek in me wanted to test this out on myself.
I initially looked at Human Charger in June 2015. I had no immediate big trips planned so I could not test how it sorted out any jet lag. I went to New York the other week to interview social network Tsu. It was time to test the device out during the trip.
I downloaded the app for both my Windows and Android phones and inputted my flight details into the app. The app graphics are lovely on both platforms, but the app itself does not seem to do much apart from scroll through changes from day to night as the flight approaches.
A couple of days before my outbound flight I noticed that I needed to use the Human Charger several times during the day to adjust my body to the new time zone. The Android app gave me an alert, the Windows phone app did not.
The device is used for 12 minutes per session. The LED lights warmed my ears and the sensation was really pleasant. The light was quite bright in the dim aircraft cabin, lighting up the skin of my ears and making them glow. I strangely like the sensation of having warm ears.
On my arrival in New York I had to use the charger four times at 3pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9pm. I did not notice any difference in the way I felt. My sleep pattern was the same as usual and it was not a disturbed sleep. The next day, I had to use the charger at the same times throughout the afternoon.
The light program ended after two days at my US destination. I had one day free from the charger before I had to start to prepare myself for the trip home back east. The app alerted me to use the charger twice in the morning the day before my flight, and again the day I left New York.
Flying east, I had to use the charger four times as soon as I landed in London and again the next day before the program ended.
So did it work for me? Honestly, I am not sure that I recovered from my jet lag any faster than when I do other trips. When I fly west, I try to get outside in the daylight as much as possible at my destination to adjust as quickly as possible.
If I fly east, I have a one hour nap at my destination and then I power through to bed time, eating at the new time zone meal times and getting as much daylight as possible. I am really not sure that the Human Charger helped me at all.
As the days get shorter as we go towards winter in the northern hemisphere I will use the charger. As the temperature plummets at least my ears will be warm.