From hospital to 'Ambient Healing Space'

At today's 2007 Philips Simplicity Event at London's Earls Court 2 exhibition centre, Philips showed off its latest concept designs - mainly focused around its ambient lighting technologies.

Philips' foward thinking has often centered around healthcare. True to form, it's transformed an average hospital room into an 'Ambient Healing Space'.

You won't get this on the NHS - raised, comfy beds complete with personalised bedside displays with a video link for communicating with friends and family that can't visit in person.

The hospital room is all about creating a nice, relaxing environment for people to recover in after operations and other medical procedures.

A display wall helps doctors and nurses get instant access to a patient's medical records and current stats are measured using a body sensing blanket. Philips foresees that patients will be able to track their recovery process on the same screen. Hospital staff will also be able to describe exactly how an operation has been carried out using a lifesize display of the human body.

4D virtual baby scan

Philips also showed off what a future pregnancy room might look like. Instead of messy ultrasound scans, pregnant mums would use an integrated seat and scanning belt. This displays a 4D virtual image of their baby on a wall curved to resemble the mother's belly.

Hotels have also been given a distinctive Philips makeover thanks to a new 'Daylight' design concept. This involves guests being able to control virtually every aspect of their hotel stay.

After a long flight, for example, a guest could boost their energy in the 'light therapy' corner of their room, which uses different wavelengths of artificial light. Guests might also want to set a wake up call that uses natural light rather than an ear-splitting alarm.

The coolest aspect of the hotel concept is Philips' virtual blinds, which can be changed with a wave of your hand. A range of decorative virtual blinds and colour gradients were on show, each letting more or less daylight into your room. These could be implemented in homes, offices, schools etc. and sounds like a clever way to fight off the winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

'Affordable luxury' is here

While the hotel concept above is very much in the future, Dutch hotel chain Citizen M has adopted some of the technologies into its new 'One Star is Born' range of prefab hotel rooms.

Opening in Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport next month and hitting London and Glasgow in 2008, Citizen M offers what it calls 'affordable luxury'. Its rooms feature wireless 'Moodpads' controlling lighting and entertainment, while the walls play host to digital artwork.

Personal preferences are stored on a central server and a personal RFID card means that guests won't have to wait at reception to check in or out ever again. Settings and preferences will also be stored for future visits. Rooms will start at €69 (£48).

"It's all about understanding people and their needs," said Rudy Provoost, CEO of Philips Consumer Electronics. "All these new concept technologies and products are ones that consumers have been asking for, and we've designed them around their needs."