Multicolor LIFX LED light bulbs can be controlled by smartphone
By Ben Coxworth
September 19, 2012
When it comes to replacing the soon-to-be-obsolete incandescent light bulbs in our homes, LEDs are certainly a good way to go – they’re highly energy-efficient, they last for years, and they emit a nicer quality of light than compact fluorescents. Now, San Francisco-based LIFX Labs has set about making them even more attractive. The company’s new LIFX (pronounced “life-ex”) LED bulbs can be remotely controlled from the user’s smartphone, and they change color.
The standard LIFX bulb is similar in shape and size to a regular incandescent bulb, and can simply be screwed into any existing fixture. After downloading an app onto their iPhone or Android device, users can control all of the LIFX bulbs within their home, via Wi-Fi. In a typical setup, one LIFX will serve as the “master” bulb, receiving commands from the user and relaying those commands to the other “slave” bulbs as needed. That said, the system allows for any one bulb or group of bulbs to be controlled independently, so it’s not a case of all the slaves simply copying what the master is doing.
And what kind of things can they do?
As mentioned, they can be set to pretty much any color, using a color wheel display on the smartphone’s touchscreen. The app also allows individual lights to automatically turn on and/or off at preset times, to dim or brighten on command or by timer, to notify the user of things like incoming emails by flashing, or even to change color in time to the beat of music.
Should the phone crap out or simply not be in the house, the lights can also be controlled via the regular wall switches.
The current LIFX prototype incorporates an RGB phosphorous COB LED lamp, which has a light output equivalent to that of a 60-watt incandescent bulb or a 50-watt halogen – that could change for the production version, however. It will be produced in the standard screw-mount model, along with bayonet and downlight versions. Windows, Mac and Linux versions of the app are reportedly in the works.
LIFX Labs is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, although the US$100,000 funding goal has already been far exceeded – at the time of this posting it was already over $1,040,000, and there are still 56 days left to go. A pledge of $69 will get you on the list to receive one of the bulbs, which are scheduled to ship next March.
More information is available in the pitch video below.