When the lights go out due to a power outage at night, you'll probably have to spend the next few minutes fumbling around in the dark hoping to lay your hands on a nearby torch or trying to remember where you put the candles and matches. If only the lights could stay on for a while after the power was cut. The SmartCharge LED bulb has been developed with the simple aim of ensuring that users are never left in the dark again. It includes technology that's able to determine whether someone has just turned off the light at the switch, or there's been an actual power failure. If the latter, the bulb will provide users with hours of continuous light .

The 5 W SmartCharge LED bulb can put out 350 lumens, with 3,000K, 4,000K and 5,000K color temperatures and a 120 degree beam angle. A built-in, patent-pending Grid & Switch Sensor is able to determine if there's been a power failure, can then detect the on/off position of the switch the light or lamp is wired to, and will either allow a bulb to illuminate a room or leave it in the dark until someone flicks the switch.

"For the first time you can control your light bulb from the same wall switch during a power failure," inventor Shailendra Suman tells Gizmag. "This was a very hard problem to solve. We saw an unfulfilled need in the market and so a big opportunity. There are many parts of world with frequent power outages. This bulb would be ideal for homes and businesses in those countries."

The light keeps shining thanks to an integrated 2200 mAh Li-ion battery that offers up to four hours of continuous use before the light really goes out. When grid power is restored, the unit's battery recharges itself from empty to capacity in about six hours, ready for the next outage. The SmartCharge bulb has a rated life of up to 40,000 hours, but its 300 - 400 cycle battery may need replacing every three or four years, depending on use.

The bulb is designed to work on 110 - 240 V supplies, and is currently compatible with standard light fixtures (which translates to screw in E26 for North America or E27 for Europe, and bayonet-type B22 for the UK, India and others), but the developers are currently working on other fitting options. Though a bulb can operate on a two- or three-way switch, only one SmartCharge per circuit can be controlled, but the team is looking at ways to have one switch control all the bulbs connected to it. The bulb isn't dimmable.

Work on the SmartCharge project began two years ago, and the bulb has gone through many designs and prototypes before settling on the final pre-production units. Suman has launched on Kickstarter to bring his bright idea to market.

A single SmartCharge bulb is pitched at US$35, including the cost of shipping within the US. A two pack level has been set at $55, and a four pack at $100. If all goes according to plan, the first SmartCharge bulbs will start shipping from April 2014.

The SmartCharge LED bulb will be heading to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks for CES (booth #73107 in the Eureka Park area). In the meantime, check out the campaign pitch video below.

Sources: Shailendra Suman, Kickstarter