Tag Archives: Smart Lightbulbs

Cree releases a sub-$15 smart light bulb

The Connected Cree LED Bulb looks to enhance the lighting experience with compatibly across almsot every platform.

Fresh on the heels of CES, connected living continues to be a key theme of 2015. Among the rapidly emerging categories, which ranges from thermostats to locks, are lights. While Philips Hue has become one of the most notable names in the smart bulb space, a number of companies are now looking to tap into the Internet of Things‘ bright future. One in particular, Cree, has become the latest to enter the market with its 60W-equivalent Connected Cree LED Bulb.


For the time being, smartphone-controlled lighting is seldom inexpensive. However, that is something Cree is aspiring to change with its new sub-$15 product line. Not only compatible with Home Depot’s Wink hub, the Connected Cree Bulb will work with any ZigBee-certified platform. Users can simply sync their iOS or Android device with the bulb to to trigger a number of light settings: dim or brighten, schedule, and remotely turn them for an added layer of security.

“Everything Cree does is based on the promise of providing the best lighting experience, and that starts with superior LED light. The Connected Cree LED Bulb delivers on that promise while also creating a simple user experience for consumers seeking device connectivity in their homes. The Connected Cree LED Bulb provides the uncompromising combination of a superior LED light experience with multi-platform compatibility, all at an affordable price,” explained Cree CMO Betty Noonan.


Moreover, the smart bulb is also designed for compatibility with future Cree supported hubs and market-leading platforms, including the Apple HomeKit platform, as consumers adopt new platforms for home connectivity. For those homeowners looking to enhance their lighting, the connected bulb will go on sale at HomeDepot.com later this month.

As the smart home market surges ahead, Atmel is well-positioned to remain at the heart of many of these Internet-enabled systems. The Atmel | SMART SAM R21, for example, has become a go-to choice for many developers looking to easily design connected lighting and wireless sensor networks.

BeON Home smart lights outsmart burglars

There’s smart bulbs, then there’s out-smart bulbs.

Did you know that four burglaries occur every minute in the United States alone? That’s a startling one every 15 seconds. The good news is that most convicted burglars (90%) claim they want to avoid homes with alarm systems, saying that if they did encounter an alarm, they would abandon the attack. However, the bad news is that nearly two-thirds of homeowners fail to turn it on at all times.


While there has been an influx of smart bulbs in recent years, none of them may be nearly as intelligent as a new lighting system from one Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup. The BeON Burglar Deterrent was designed to give off the impression of a lived-in home while you’re away, thereby outsmarting would-be intruders.

For those who recall the 1990s blockbuster film Home Alone, Kevin McCallister — played by Macaulay Culkin — outwits a pair of criminals by creating a DIY home security system. During one scene, Kevin goes to great lengths to set up a fake Christmas party in order to deceive the “Wet Bandits” into thinking that the house is, in fact, occupied.


Well, BeON Home is seeking to bottle some of that Kevin McCallister spirit inside their new system. The BeON Deterrent — which is fresh off a successful Kickstarter campaign — is hidden within several LED bulbs, each of which provide plenty of light throughout a home. As its creators note, you shouldn’t have to compromise on your lighting quality for security and safety. That’s why each bulb in the BeON Burglar Deterrent system emits 800 lumens of soft white LED light, which is equivalent to your typical 60W incandescent bulbs.

While the smart bulbs install just like ordinary lightbulbs, and work with your existing wall switches, an additional ’smart’ module enables a whole new level of intelligence. In particular, the system is equipped to learn your home lighting activity patterns, which are then replayed while away to convey to potential thieves that someone is still home. Upon leaving the house, simply set the system to “protect” mode to activate this automatic lighting sequence.


“No system programming is required. Simply activate and be on your way. Most would-be burglars will continue on their way, but the more bold ones may check if a home is occupied by ringing the doorbell,” a company rep adds.

Embedded with an Atmel | SMART SAM G ARM Cortex-M4 MCU, BeON’s sound processing engine can detect the tone of a doorbell and will immediately trigger the lights on in sequence to simulate your active presence, thereby increasing its level of ‘smartness.’ (Think of it as a professional grade Home Alone contraption.) Aside from the ATSAMG53 based sound algorithm, BeON bulbs boast backup rechargeable batteries, ensuring its burglar prevention powers work even without power.


Furthermore, just as the bulbs can listen to your doorbell, the BeON system can hear other in-home events like smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. As a result, if BeON lights detect an alarm, they will immediately turn on at full brightness to assist home dwellers escape safely.

Following its successful crowdfunding campaign, the team hopes to add other audible functionalities to the bulbs, too. Imagine if when a burglar rings the doorbell, just before the first light comes on, a dog barks? Then, if the aspiring intruder continues, another light is triggered and immediately followed by the sound of a shotgun cocking? As with any Atmel | SMART MCU-driven innovation, the possibilities are endless!


Not only is the system easy to use, but it’s simple to set up as well! So much so that the smart burglar deterrent can literally be configured and operated with a single finger. Each module is outfitted with a BLE module, which allows the system’s mesh network to extend the range of the bulb network throughout a house.

Looking to channel your inner Kevin McCallister and defend your home while away? Learn more about this bright idea by visiting their official page here. Full production is expected to get underway next spring, while shipping should begin this summer.


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.