Tag Archives: Smart Lights

Build your own Arduino-compatible, remote-controlled lights

Maker hacks his own Arduino-compatible, Philips Hue-like bulbs with LYT and Souliss.

Looking to control the multi-colored lights in your home? Sure, you could always go out and buy your own set of Philips Hue bulbs. Or, you can do what a Dario Di Maio has done and build your own that plugs into a standard light socket. As the Maker points out, while smart LEDs have become quite common today, none have been Arduino-compatible.


For this project, the Maker used the Authometion LYT — an ATmega88PA powered RGBW LED bulb with an Arduino shield as a gateway, which enabled him to freely create his own custom behaviors and code. Both the Arduino and shield run the Souliss framework, while the lights are controlled through the Souliss App.

The shield is equipped with two radio modules, an ESP8266 Wi-Fi SoC that connects the Arduino with the home router and a PL1167 2.4 GHz transceiver wired to the Atmel MCU to control the bulbs. (Di Maio recommends either the Uno and Leonardo.)

Meanwhile, the ESP8266 and the Arduino are linked via USART. According to Di Maio, you can download the necessary libraries and examples from the Authometion store. These allow you to bridge command over Wi-Fi to the USART and then to the PL1167.


“We will run two instances of Souliss, one on the ESP8266 and the other on the Arduino board, this because Souliss embedded the communication between different nodes and this let us skip the writing of a custom code to link these two devices,” Di Maio writes.

The bulb itself is a 9W RGBW LED, which generally should fit in most lamps with an E27 plug. The Maker provides an elaborate breakdown of his project along with the necessary code on his page here.

ilumi is a smart bulb that just got even smarter

These smart bulbs won’t just light up your house, they’ll improve your sleep, set the mood and connect your devices.

Wouldn’t it be nice if your in-home lighting knew just how to pick you up when you were feeling down? Or could turn on right as you walk through the door with your arms full of groceries? Thanks to the ilumi, that and much more are all possible. The Dallas-based, Shark Tank-supported startup has unveiled the latest generation of its intelligent bulbs that offer complete lighting control.


If the name sounds familiar, that’s because ilumi is no stranger to the smart lighting world. Since originally making its debut on Kickstarter back in 2013 and catching the attention of Mark Cuban on the ABC hit show last year, the team has returned to the drawing board and revamped their bulbs with a new and improved design, interface, and of course, a more affordable price. And the timing couldn’t be better, as recent reports forecast the market to reach 2.5 billion units by 2020 and reduce energy costs as much as 90%.

Aside from being able to customize which shade of light the bulb emits via a color wheel, user can also select from a series of pre-defined themes to best suit their daily routines. For instance, you can support your body’s circadian rhythm by automating the bulbs to emulate the sun’s natural cycle, wake up to your own personal sunrise, or find the right brightness/color combination to best set the mood.


What’s more, ilumi boasts several fun integrations including the ability to connect to Spotify and sync with the beat of your favorite tunes — ideal for Friday night parties or Halloween festivities. They also work with some other popular IoT products and services, including IFTTT and Nest thermostats. Arguably one of its most standout features, however, is its Home Alone-like capability of giving off the impression that an owner is inside, even when away on vacation, to deter any potential burglars. ilumi can detect presence in a room and will flick itself on and off automatically, too.

Packed inside the bulb are a set of RGBW LEDs, a high-power antenna with a range of up 150 feet, Flash memory and a real-time clock for stored settings, as well as a Bluetooth Smart chip for wireless control. What’s neat is that, since each bulb is equipped with Bluetooth, it creates a mesh network that links to your phone, thereby eliminating the need for a hub. Simply screw them into a socket, pair them with your mobile device, and you’re ready to go. Each bulb will act as a node that can send and receive a signal.


For its Kickstarter return, which has already tripled its initial pledge goal, the company has introduced two new smart bulbs: the A19 Standard with 800 lumens and 10 watts, and the BR30 Flood with 1,150 lumens and 14 watts. Oh, and remember the days of “Clap on, clap off, The Clapper?” Well, iiumi lets its users turn the lights on with a simple shake of their phone.

Interested in some for your home? Head over to its official Kickstarter page. Delivery is slated for September 2015.

Silk LED bulb mimics natural sunlight to help you live better

Silk by Saffron is a smart LED bulb that automatically adjusts its color temperature so you get light tailored to your circadian rhythm.

It goes without saying that our mood and general well-being are directly related with the light in our environment. Yet, the advent of artificial lighting and digital screens has wreaked havoc on our innate circadian rhythm throughout the years. With this in mind, the Saffron crew has developed an LED bulb that can actually sync to its users’ internal clocks to emulate the natural shifting color spectrum of the sun.


Called Silk, the smart LED is said to enhance performance and sleep patterns by providing users with the optimal kind of light over the course of a 24-hour period. Unlike other smart lights on the market today, this 800-lumen unit doesn’t require any management throughout the day. Once it’s turned on, Silk adjusts itself based on the sun and time, shifting from a midday’s cool blue intensity to a warmer, much more soothing tones for the evening.

“You’ve probably read up on the effects of late-night screen use, but the problem is much bigger than that since it extends to all the mundane everyday lights in our homes and offices too,” the Utah-based startup explains.

Each bulb has two banks of LEDs inside — one that contains cool colors and another with warmer hues — that mix together to create the right balance. Simply screw them into a lamp and overhead lights, then control them wirelessly from a central ZigBee bridge. Using Saffron’s unique nClick program, which allows for an existing light switch to control the bulb, a user can also toggle their Silk between dimmer/brighter and cooler/warmer settings with a single click, or via its accompanying app.


The Silk app, which is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, enables a user to create their own zone-based schedules and switch behaviors to meet the lighting needs of any given situation, whether that’s a morning yoga session or an afterwork dinner gathering.

Currently live on Kickstarter, Saffron is seeking $100,000 on Kickstarter. The only downside is that you’ll have to wait until January 2016 to get your hands on them.

LIFX adds an affordable bulb to its smart lighting collection

With a retail price under $40, the White 800 is the perfect introduction to the world of smart lighting.

The battle for control of the burgeoning smart lighting market continues to heat up, with new products being introduced regularly by both large corporations and startups. Just this month, Philips Hue announced a pair of new solutions: the Phoenix and Go, a wireless white light lamp and a portable LED lamp, respectively. Not too far behind is Australian startup LIFX who has unveiled a new product of its own, the White 800.


The company, which was Wi-Fi-enabled lighting pioneer and one of the all-time most successful Kickstarter campaigns back in 2012 — has launched a $40 smart bulb capable of switching between both warm and cool white lights. As can be expected, the White 800 is equipped with built-in Wi-Fi technology (meaning no hub required) to allow users to control their lights, create one-touch presets and configure favorite settings, all from its accompanying mobile app.

Between the bulb’s sleek compact profile and 890 bright shining lumens (60W equivalent), the White 800 a perfect introduction into smart lighting for those looking to bring their homes into the Internet of Things era. Users can naturally wake up each morning with automatically increasing luminosity, schedule lights to turn on when upon arrival, or set the mood with a soft candle flicker.


Beyond that, owners can integrate their connected lights with IFTTT to make their own recipes pairing the lights with services such as social media, weather channels and calendars. According to LIFX, the bulb can live up to 23 years based on three hours of daily use. Those interested in installing White 800 lights in their home should head over to its official page here.

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.

Switchmate makes any light smart in seconds

Smart lighting with a snap!

From startups to major brands, it seems like just about everyone has embarked on the smart lighting train. In fact, we’ve seen everything from lights that can set the mood, to lights that can sync up with TV shows, to lights that can give off the impression of a lived-in home. And while smart bulbs continue to proliferate, they all possess one of the same two options when it comes to installation. Homeowners could either use a plug-in module or remove and replace a ‘dumb’ light switch entirely.


That was until Switchmate came along. The Palo Alto-based startup — which recently launched on Indiegogo — is hoping to change the game with its solution that easily fits over an existing switch by magnetically securing to the screws. This means no wires, no tools, no headache! As you can imagine, not only for homes, the market for the Switchmate includes renters and those who lack handyman skills.

Once affixed to the wall, you can simply pair it with a mobile device over Bluetooth and automate your switch in a matter of seconds. This allows you to turn the lights on with a tap of your phone, a press of its button, or at scheduled pre-set times. In other words, you’ll never have to get out of bed or come home to a dark house again. What’s more, Switchmate can be used to control any appliance, as long as it features an on/off toggle.


As seen back at CES 2015, Switchmate is comprised of a plastic faceplate, a servo motor and a Bluetooth Low Energy module, along with a few magnets and a button. On its own, the solution can be operated from an iOS or Android phone via BLE. However, for those instances beyond its 200-foot range, the startup says it is currently working on developing its own hub and expanding its lineup of products. This will enable users to control their lights (or other in-home devices) anywhere that there is Internet access.


Recently launched on Indiegogo, the team has already doubled its initial goal in a matter of days. Want a Switchmate of your own? Hurry over to its official campaign page here.

Lumi hopes to make lighting smarter and healthier

One startup believes health is the future of lighting. Better sleep, sight and mood! 

Research has proven that light can impact our sleep, our sight, and even our mood. With these things in mind, a new Delaware-based startup hopes to spark up a new conversation around smart lighting, and more importantly, its role in our health. To do so, Lumi has launched a new smart LED ceiling light equipped with presets to provide scientifically-correct luminosity contingent upon a user’s activity.


“People don’t know that simply having light turned on is not as good as it gets — not even close,” the team writes. “We believe health is the future of the lighting industry. In a few years, the functions we have now will be the standard, globally.”

Sure, flashy disco LEDs can be fun, but Lumi aspires to alter our perception of light controlling to include how it can positively effect our well-being, ranging from reducing eye strain and improving self-worth to enhancing safety and making food more delicious. What’s more, no hub is required. For example, Lumi can be used to avoid unnecessary dry eyes and eye fatigue by using a “Watching TV” preset, which emits a softer, relaxing light of about 400lx. Or, an illumination of 500lx or more can lead to better concentration, comprehension, retention and even test scores.


Can’t find a preset that suits your needs? Users can create a customize their ideal light, name it and then share its story via social media. And, much like other smart solutions on the market today, Lumi comes with a companion app that allows users to take control of their lights remotely. This includes turning them on/off, dimming or brightening, as well as adjusting color temperature and intensity. You can even manage multiple Lumi lights in the same room or the entire building with grouped functions.

For those who tend to be on the forgetful side, you’re in luck. Lumi will soon be equipped with a scheduling option so that, upon learning your routine, will ensure that the lights are on when needed — whether that’s returning home from work, heading into the kitchen to whip up some dinner, or walking into your closet to change clothes. Upon entering a room, the lights will already be on, and shortly after leaving, will turn off. Furthermore, the team is currently developing a sunrise function, which will gradually increase light to emulate the sunrise so you can wake up feeling energized and ready for the day. Conversely, you will be able to use Lumi’s sunset feature to gradually decrease light before bed to ease into a better night’s slumber.

In terms of hardware, its creators set out to develop a unique driver that would make the device compatible with virtually all existing lighting solutions on market today. The driver possesses a variable wattage from 0-24W for each set of LEDs, giving an accumulated range of 0-48W and enabling its dimming and color changing capabilities. Additionally, the light packs 96 LEDs, 48 white and 48 yellow. The Lumi is powered by an ATmega128 MCU along with a Marvel LBWA18HEPZ Wi-Fi chip. Each of its components are housed in a 16″ x 24″ shell that was strategically designed to diffuse light.

At the moment, Lumi is compatible with a wide-range of smartphones (iOS 7.0 or Android 4.0 and higher), supports 802.11b/g network standards, and is operated by Amazon AWS. To protect against potential hackers, Lumi leverages 128-bit AES encryption. Interested? Head over to its official Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $40,000. Pending all goes to plan, shipment is slated to begin in October 2015.

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.

IoTuino is an Arduino-compatible Wi-Fi module for the Internet of Things

Developed by Authometion, IoTtuino is an Arduino-compatible tiny core module for the Internet of Things. Recently launched on Indiegogo, the Italian-based startup aspires to help Makers create smart homes through a number of DIY automation applications.


“The goal of the product is to offer all makers and developers the opportunity to work with a powerful yet miniaturized microcontroller for rapid prototyping and to leverage the Arduino open-source electronics platform to build plenty of IoT devices,” explained Authometion CEO Pietro Moscetta. “It can be embedded into any object to immediately embrace the IoT revolution.”

IoTuino is based on an ATmega328P MCU and features a built-in low-power Wi-Fi module (IEEE802.11 b/g/n), a 512Kb SPI Flash, a 2.4 GHz radio transceiver, and an integrated mini-USB programming port.

According to its creators, the module is the first and only development board that smoothly incorporates a native control over smart LED bulbs. “For the first time developers will have the possibility, using the popular Arduino environment, to control our LYT as a wireless sensor.”


Powered by an Atmel AT83EB5114 MCU, LYT is a 9W Wi-Fi smart RGB+W LED bulb with an E27 Edison screw base. The smart bulb works in coordination with IoTuino, which serves as a gateway and can be automated by sensors and actuators for things like heat, light, force, motion and sound. Essentially, Makers can use the IoTuino and LYT bundle to manage lighting by using the smart bulbs as if they were wireless sensors, customizing the devices’ functions.

“IoTuino and LYT can already be used with IFTTT, Zapier, and any other automation services through our free WebApp available for Windows, OSX and Linux,” the team notes.


Through such automation services, users can set triggers and develop multiple scenarios for the lights, ranging from blinking effects when a social media message is received and changing colors to notify of an incoming mobile call to syncing lights with streaming music on a connected device and setting the mood.

“Our end goal is to improve user experience, convenience, comfort, energy efficiency, and security in the most important place: your home,” said Moscetta.

Those interested in learning more or helping fund Authomntion’s latest Atmel based devices can head on over the company’s official Indiegogo page here.