Connect your Philips Hue lights to real world data with Zymbit

Change the color of your office’s Philips Hue lights based on subscribed data streams.

In today’s constantly connected world, it seems like we’re notified of just about everything from emails and missed calls to social media updates and appointments. As a result, a growing number of innovators are seeking less obtrusive ways to provide you with your daily notifications. This will enable you to keep tabs on important information without constant interupttings and having to look up at a computer screen or down at a phone.


And so, Zymbit co-founder Roberto Aguilar has devised a slick system which connects his office’s Philips Hue lights to real world data through the use of Zymbit’s pub/sub framework. Rather than having to be alerted through irritating sounds or unnecessary vibrations, the Maker has created a much more natural, less distracting way of consuming content. Take for instance, the weather or mass transportation. A blue illuminated wall can indicate that it is freezing outside, while red illuminations can denote that the subway is quickly approaching. In his case, Aguilar has employed an Arduino Yún-powered LED device on his desk that he calls Zymbob. Essentially, the Arduino subscribes to the color data stream and controls the lights.

In order to bring this idea to life, the Maker began by coding a simple app for his friends to tweet a color to his LEDs. Whenever a color is mentioned in a tweet, it is published though Zymbit’s pub/sub. According to Aguilar, at first the app knew less than a dozen or so colors, and has since been extended to over 500. Meanwhile, another app running on a Raspberry Pi Model B+ subscribes to the color messages and adjusts the bulb’s Hue accordingly. Luckily, the app is small enough and can run on the Yún (ATmega32U4) to modify Zymbob’s lights.


As for its software, the project called upon the Tweepy Python package to connect to the Twitter API, the phue Python library to sync with the Philips Hue bridge, the Zymbit Python package to pair with the Zymbit itself, as well as the Zymbit pub/sub engine. Beyond that, Arduino sketches were completed within its IDE.

“All in all, the project was quite successful! The biggest problem is the way I listen to tweets; there can be pretty long delays between sending a tweet and having the lights change colors. There’s probably a better way to ‘listen’ for tweets than constantly polling,” Aguilar writes.


Moving ahead, the Maker hopes to subscribe to more data streams, thereby allowing him to command the Hue lights directly from his Raspberry Pi rather than having to piggyback the Hue bridge.

Seems cool, right? In case you’re unfamiliar with Zymbit, the end-to-end IoT platform enables Makers, engineers and developers to transform their smart ideas into real-world, connected products in blistering speed. On the hardware side, the solution gives users the ability to transition their Arduino or Raspberry Pi proof-of-concept to a professional-grade item using its modular Atmel | SMART-basedATECC108-protected devices. What’s more, the team has designed remote management software that will let users easily connect and control their gadget from anywhere, both securely and transparently — as seen in the Hue Data Channel project.

Intrigued? Head over to Zymbit’s official page to learn more.

1 thought on “Connect your Philips Hue lights to real world data with Zymbit

  1. Pingback: Connect your Philips Hue lights to real world data with Zymbit - Internet of Things | Wearables | Smart Home | M2M

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