Kickstarter spotlight: LIFX

The video for the LIFX project makes an excellent point: We don’t switch channels on our TVs manually anymore, so why do we do that with our lights? The LIFX is the bulb of the 21st century, a WiFi-enabled LED bulb capable of being controlled by a mobile unit. Everything is in the bulb itself, which means that it will fit into existing lamps.

The LIFX bulb can change colors, be dimmed, and works pretty much worldwide both in terms of the socket and the AC compatibility (110-260V). Through software integration with a mobile device (iOS or Android) you get features like sunset/sunrise dimming, remote control, music visualization, and even notifications. Imagine having your ceiling lamp blink green when you get a new message!

I personally love this project. Home automation is something that’s been around for a while, but is still too expensive for many people. Not only is this bulb affordable, but it’s compatible with existing hardware. Integration with mobile devices for things like music visualization and notifications is also great. An SDK will be released for the bulb too, which makes it possible for third parties to use the system. I would love it if I could connect my Tasker setups with this, having automatic light as I leave/come home, control the light based on my sleep mode profile, and tie my custom notification system to it. So many possibilities, all with a relatively cheap bulb.

The project is already funded almost three times over, and may very well become one of those megaprojects that draw in tons of money. The early bird reward is long gone, which means that you’ll currently be paying $69 for a single bulb, and as little as $49/bulb for bulk packages. That’s a steal if you ask me, especially when these light bulbs also have a life span measured in decades.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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12 thoughts on “Kickstarter spotlight: LIFX

  • Avatar of Mike

    Pretty cool, but like every other LED light bulb, “affordable” must be a relative term because there is no way the average person can afford to spend >$50 per bulb to replace all of the bulbs in their home.

    • Avatar of flyswatter

      Agreed that this would be cost prohibitive for every room in the house, but I’m unsure that would be the most common implementation. For me (for example) I’d only want this for my main light in the Living Room so that I could turn the lights on and off as part of my home theater automation. As a security implementation, you’d only need it for abut 2 rooms to turn on and off on a schedule when out of town to make it look like someone is home.

      In both of these limited applications, I would guess that the investment would be competitive with current home automation solutions on the market.

  • Avatar of Nagaraj

    i had the bulbs fit in my bedroom only. they are really cool. it cost me approximately 200$ but i had it covered in the home renovation project budget. but i haven’t tried the smartphone app. i got a special remote with the bulbs from Philips

  • Avatar of Samy Farrow

    Wow. This is awesome! If I can make enough money at work I’ll consider getting it. The idea is genius though!

  • Avatar of MiKeN

    ld use one in my room to simulate the sunrise in the long winter months. I much prefer to wake up to light instead of a blaring sound.

  • Avatar of D. Stroya

    I wonder how quickly these would pay for themselves if you could automate them turning on and off while entering, leaving a room worth your smartphone. I can imagine walking through a house with lights turning on and off as I going from room to room.

  • Avatar of Darwin

    I would love to have this capability in my house. Unfortunately, my 3yo son knows how to use my EVO 3D pretty well. I can just picture him running through the house and using my phone to play with the lights.

  • Avatar of Hound

    Darwin-put a leash on that kid

  • Avatar of Doug Culp

    This is awesome! Now, would it cut the current going to the bulb, like the switch does, or would it simply turn the bulb off? Either way, it’s really innovative and cool. I’m also holding out for the thumbprint front door lock from Back to the Future II. 3 years till 2015. There’s still time.

    • Avatar of flyswatter

      Actually, we already have that. Do a search on biometric door lock on Amazon. I came close to buying one when I replaced my front door.

  • Very nice, but a little too expensive, and I wonder how this would work in a room with more than one. I guess the idea of using one or two as part of home lighting security is a good idea.

  • Avatar of Abraham

    Awesome lightbulb. Really, I wish I could have one for each outlet in my house. BUT, I am not paying 60 bucks for 1. Seems like a rip off.


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