LIFX – Smart Bulbs

LIFXFirstly I apologise for writing another blog post about light bulbs, but today I came across a technology that got me really excited. One of my first posts on this blog was “Energy Saving Light Bulbs, Are They Really Worth It?” I was perhaps a little behind the times with upgrading to CFLs (Compact Fluorescent) bulbs as they have been around for some time. Yet what I am about to show you is a new technology that is yet to hit the market, although they are a green product its utter coolness of the technology that I am really excited about.

LIFX pronounced “life x” is an LED WiFi enabled light bulb that is very smart, developed by Phil Bosua and his team, it can be controlled via a iPhone or Android smart phone. It is appears very simple to use, simply plug in as you would with any light bulb and pair it to your home wireless network, then using a special app you have full control of the blubs functions. However you are not limited to simply turning the lights on and off, the LEDs inside the LIFX can be changed to any colour or any brightness. This would be great for mood lighting or just changing the look of any room. The app also allows you to do a few other clever things too. The Bulbs can be set as a night light and slowly dim as you fall asleep within a set time, or can be set to wake you up naturally by increasing light in the morning and mimicking a natural sunrise. Each bulb can be controlled individually or in groups so you can remotely control lighting room by room. Or you can turn off all of the lights when you leave the house with the push of a button. A security feature of the bulbs is their ability at set times to switch on and off which would be useful if you are away on holiday and wanted to make it look like somebody was still at home. Two of my favourite features however are how it extends the features of your smart phone, for example you can set the bulb to flash when you are receiving a phone call or text message. Meaning even when your phone is on silent somewhere in the house you will still know when it is ringing. The other feature is a visualisations or different colours and brightness’s depending on the music you are playing. I like this because I already have WiFi speakers in my home that I use regularly and these two features would work well together.

I found out about LIFX bulbs on a website called Kickstarter, it is crowd sourcing for funding new projects.  People that want funding for their project are able to create a page which is sort of like an online pitch. They set the amount of capital they need along with a deadline. Then any member of the public can donate as little as 1$ to a project they like. Backers that pledge a sufficient amount get something in return often the first run of products. LIFX had the target of raising $100,000 but in less than a week they had raised $1,300,000. They are have currently stopped taking pledges in return for bulbs which were $69 per bulb (cheaper if you buy more), and are now concentrating on getting the first batch in production which is expected in March 2013. I can’t wait until these fully hit the market and come down in price as I think they are a great idea and the first step towards the internet of things where most of our home electronic devices can be controlled by our smart phones.





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