Philips today introduced its Hue networked light bulbs, a product that showcases the potential of LED lighting technology.
Starting tomorrow, Apple will sell a kit of three Philips LED bulbs and wireless hub for $199 at Apple’s stores in the U.S. and make additional bulbs available for $59.
People can download an iOS or Android app to not only adjust lighting—on, off, or dimmed—but also control the color. A person can, for example, use a whiter light in the morning or a warmer, yellow light at night. People choose from a color palette and can even reproduce colors from photos.
The app lets people schedule lighting, such as gradually turning on in the morning or dimming at night. It also comes with a “Light Recipe” setting for different moods, including relax, concentrate, energize, and reading, which correspond to different brightnesses and colors.
The bulbs use the Zigbee wireless protocol to communicate with the bulbs and can be controlled remotely via a smart phone or tablet over the Internet. The brightness of the bulbs is 600 lumens, or about the same light as a 50-watt halogen, while consuming about 8.5 watts, according to reviews. Installation appears easy: people need to connect the Zigbee hub to a home router and then install the bulbs and control app, according to Philips’ Hue Web site.
The higher cost of LED bulbs has been a real barrier to consumer sales. But Hue is a good example of how solid-state lighting offers features beyond better efficiency. Integrating a wireless chip makes existing lights dimmable and controllable from a smart phone, while the color wheel in the app gives consumers the flexibility to change colors.
By selling through Apple stores, rather than its normal retail outlets, such as hardware stores, Philips is clearly targeting tech-savvy consumers who appreciate clever design.
The company isn’t the only designing wireless LED lighting. Last week, startup Greenwave Reality said it will make a wireless lighting kit available through utilities in the U.S. this year. (See, Wireless LED Light Bulbs: Gateway to Smart Home?) There is also a Kickstarter project called Lifx which offers a wireless bulb and an app for managing light color.
Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid
Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.
A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of
The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.
It will soon be easy for self-driving cars to hide in plain sight. We shouldn’t let them.
If they ever hit our roads for real, other drivers need to know exactly what they are.
Crypto is weathering a bitter storm. Some still hold on for dear life.
When a cryptocurrency’s value is theoretical, what happens if people quit believing?
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.