Tag Archives: Philips Hue

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.

Philips Hue Go is like a portable bowl of ambient light

Bring this wireless lamp anywhere ‘Hue’ want to ‘Go.’

Since its inception, Philips Hue lightbulbs have allowed users to select the brightness and color of light they want for any room. Now, the company is taking that experience to a whole new level with its latest Hue device that lets users carry their chosen ambience around in a portable bowl-like light that can be controlled via smartphone.


Philips notes that the aptly named Philips Hue Go is designed to change the way in which light is used in the home. Unlike conventional fixed units, this one can be moved in and around a home, and serve as a “portable center piece” to let anyone experience the light that they want anywhere at anytime. It even has a battery life of up to three hours when left unplugged.

Go’s unique shape and thick-walled spherical body allows users to place it either on a flat surface facing down, facing up or tilted to one side.


“It can also be positioned in different ways to adapt to your needs; enhance a living space by positioning it to face a wall washing it with light, add ambience to an intimate dinner by placing it as a center piece on the table or focused on a piece of work by directing the light where you need it,” the company explains.

The Hue Go enables users to choose from more than 16 million colors and seven different lighting effects, ranging from functional warm white light to cool energizing daylight. It can be controlled via a button directly on the device itself or via the Philips Hue app on a user’s smartphone. As with other Hue gadgets, the Go can interact with more than 200 third-party apps, and features five new patented dynamic light effects to enrich those special moments and interaction.


Just like Philips Hue, the Go can discretely alert a user of an incoming email or change in weather via a gentle light notification, as well as enhance the TV viewing experience. Philips Hue Go works seamlessly with all Philips Hue and Friends of Hue products, and can be easily integrated into an existing network.

Looking for an ambient, portable lamp of your own? The $109 (€99.95) Philips Hue Go will be available this month in Europe and June in North America.

Philips Hue Phoenix is a new range of smart lamps 

Philips has unveiled a new lineup of remotely-controlled lamps, the Hue Phoenix. This new range of white ambience connected lamps will allow users to create the right lighting for various moments while at home. From helping to create a cozy atmosphere in the evening to providing a pick-me-up before heading to the gym, the Philips Hue Phoenix gives users access to a full spectrum of white light, all at the swipe of a finger.


“White light is fundamental to the home, it is used in every room, every day,” explained Leonardo Avezzano, Product Marketing Director of Philips Hue. “We have used our knowledge of the biological effect of light on people, like regulating our circadian rhythm and bodily processes like sleep, and put this into Philips Hue Phoenix. The proven light recipes¹ can help you feel energized in the morning, more concentrated on work during the day and relaxed at night.”

With Philips Hue Phoenix, users can instantly adapt the light to go from warm white light to create a calm atmosphere in their home to crisp white light, helping them focus on a task at hand. Through the Philips Hue app, Phoenix can access pre-set white light recipes that can improve concentration, enhance reading, spur relaxation and send positive vibes, as well as open up an array over 200 third party apps.

Unlocking the full spectrum of white light makes Philips Hue Phoenix ideal for any space in the smart home of the future, particularly spaces that are used in a number of ways. Five different styles will be offered, including a stylish table light that is ideal for a study area, a wall light that is perfect for awaking in the morning, down lights that are well-suited for a hallway, a pendant light that would look stellar hanging above a dining table, and a ceiling light that works seamlessly in a living room.


“Its unique look also adds a designer’s touch to your home. The small hexagonal cells that make up the outer shell sparkle and reflect light, effortlessly diffusing it across a room. They also change appearance each time they’re seen from a different angle, turning Philips Hue Phoenix into a ‘live’ object that delivers an explosion of white light,” Philips adds.

If you recall last year, the company debuted a collection of 3D-printed smart luminaries that came in both table-lamp and pendant versions, and combined the color-changing effects offered with all Hue lights. Users could remotely control elements such as brightness, color tone, and whether the luminaires react just to the app or get hooked up to online services like IFTTT or home automation kit like SmartThings. However, unlike the 3D-printed accessories, the Hue Phoenix lamps won’t change colors. Instead, users will be able to experience a plethora of white tones, from cool through to warm.

With access to all the connectivity features of Philips Hue, the Phoenix delivers more than just high quality white light. As it’s connected, it can help with safety and security even when someone is away from home through programming the lights to switch on in the evening and off again at bedtime. Users can also set-up discreet alerts for new emails or change in weather via a gentle ‘light notification’ for every connected light.

Current owners of Hue products will take comfort in knowing that the newly-revealed system works seamlessly with all other Philips Hue and Friends of Hue products, thereby enabling simple integration into an existing network. Interested in adding one of the five unique pieces to your home? Phoenix will launch in Europe sometime in April 2015, while North America shortly thereafter in May 2015.

Control your Philips Hue lighting with this DIY device

With just a ‘littleBit’ of tinkering, you can set the mood in real-time.

In recent weeks, we’ve had some fun tinkering around with the latest kits from our friends at littleBits. As seen inside our CES 2015 booth, these itsy bitsy modules are enabling Makers to hack their own smart homes with ease, ranging from automated coffee makers to alarm clocks. Case in point: Maker Jeremy Blum’s latest project leverages the ATmega32U4 based Arduino module, along with a small Linux board and Philips Hue hub, to control the state, brightness and color of connected lightbulbs in real-time via a tactile interface.


“The system architecture of the littleBits Hue Lighting Controller is pretty simple, but I put a lot of thought into making the system robust, fast, and easy-to-setup. I’ve actually been using this controller daily for the last several months, but I completely rewrote most of the code in preparation for sharing it here – most notably, I built an automated setup routine, added serial device auto-connect logic, and made the system more robust against hardware state changes,” Blum writes.


The system is comprised of three components: the control pad, the Linux machine and the Philips Hue network. In addition, Makers looking to enhance their design are encouraged to 3D print the dials, buttons and enclosures. When a Maker presses buttons or turns the dial on the wall controller, it sends serial commands to a script running on the Linux device. The desired action is interpreted and relayed to the Hue hub over the local network in real-time.

“When you’re setting up the system, you’ll use a automatic setup mode that I’ve included in the Python software. The script handles configuring the Linux machine to automatically launch the listening service on boot, creates the secure connection with the Hue hub, and allows you to select which lights on your Hue network you’d like to control with the control pad. The Python script also automatically identifies the right serial device and will automatically handle reconnecting the serial interface on USB disconnection events.”


As Blum notes, you don’t have to be an advanced engineer or know anything about configuring Linux serial devices, for that matter, to implement the software – it’s entirely automatic. In fact, it will even work on systems that have multiple USB serial devices attached, such as multiple Arduino Leonardo boards.

Are you ready to control the smart bulbs throughout your home with a DIY controller? If so, you can access an entire step-by-step breakdown of the build here.

Video: Playing the world’s largest online Mastermind game

If you feel like your 70″ LED television may just no longer be big enough for your gaming skills, you’re in luck. Thanks to sound artist Håkan Lidbo, you can now play a game of Mastermind displayed on the exterior of Stockholm’s 300-foot-tall NOD building.


Lidbo has teamed up with students from Royal School of Technology and Science to develop an interface that transforms one of the Swedish city’s largest structures into an online computer game, entitled “Play The House.”

The technology is centered around  wireless LED Philips Hue bulbs, which are arranged in a number of the windows and represent pixels in the game. Every night, from 6 pm to 6 am CET, the entire building becomes a real-time interface via a camera stream from a nearby building.

Want to play? Anyone can visit the official Play The House website, then be coupled with another player to prepare for a mega Mastermind battle. Players simply select colors from the color palette to create their secret code, and then attempt to guess an opponent’s color combination.


“When a small board game is being blown up in this size, and you realize how easily it’s done, you wonder if architects all over the world shouldn’t consider making their houses look more like games,” Lidbo explains.

The NOD building is just one of hopefully many to be transformed into a gigantic game interface.

Philips Hue Lights react to ‘Sharknado 2’

Last year, Sharknado quickly emerged as one of, if not, the most buzzed about B movies of all-time. The premise of the 2013 made-for-television disaster film was centered around a waterspout that hoovers up thousands of hungry sharks from the Pacific Ocean, only to deposit them onto the shore to feast on hapless residents of Greater Los Angeles. Whether good or bad, one thing is for certain: you can’t deny the entertainment value of the film.


Well, it appears that entertainment value will be enhanced once more, as Sharknado 2 (set to premiere on Wednesday, July 30th) will mark the first time a TV show will have the ability to directly control your room lighting. To tackle this feat, Syfy is partnering with Philips to create a lighting soundtrack, or “light track,” for the company’s Hue-connected LED lights. The entire sequel is choreographed so that the lights will dim, brighten and change color, contingent upon what’s happening on the screen.

“For instance, a sequence in the movie involves a plane flying through a storm. When lightning strikes, the lights flicker and brighten suddenly, and if you have multiple lights — the Hue line offers bulbs, lamps and even light strips — you’ll see some variation in the colors, too,” Mashable explains.

The Syfy Sync app will bring this whole experience to life. The app, which typically brings the viewer second-screen information, uses audio tagging to identify what the viewer is watching, delivering the right content at the right moment. Now with Philips onboard, the integration will be taken to an entirely different level. Viewers will have the option to select lights individually, so if your whole home is wired with Philips Hue, you can limit the effects to just the family room.

Mashable’s Pete Pachal notes, “Shark-influenced lighting might not be the Internet of Things application we need, but if Twitter has any say, it’s the Internet of Things application we deserve.”

In case you missed it, earlier in the year Atmel’s Magnus Pedersen talked about IoT, Philips Hue and some of his favorite applications.