A new Kickstarter project by Australian Phil Bosua is rapidly gaining backers and funding for his re-invented light bulb called LIFX, so far attracting 7,769 backers and raising $1,185,900 of its $100,000 goal in just 6 days. The campaign is to produce a Wi-Fi enabled light bulb that is able to be controlled via an app on your Android or iOS device.
The bulbs offer the ability to control your lights from anywhere, choose the brightness for a specific bulb, a room or your whole house, change colours, notify you of Twitter, Facebook, SMSs and more, reduce energy consumption, visualise music, act as a night light for your children or as security lights when you are away on holiday. The LiFX bulbs will be able to be hacked or played with via an SDK to allow developers to work on more ideas that the team has not already thought of (and trust me, from the video, they’ve thought of a few).
The app to control the LiFX bulbs will be available initially on Android in the Google Play Store and in the iOS App Store with future plans including an app for Windows, Mac and also Linux. The app is what controls the setup of the bulb, you will be guided through the setup of choosing your home network and allow you to setup the master bulb, further bulbs can be added as slaves but are able to be controlled individually.
The LiFX bulbs connect to your 802.11n WiFi network via a mesh network and are compatible with 110/240v fixtures. The traditional light switch is required to remain in place and will still work to turn the light on and off. Standby on the bulb does require some power but it is a miniscule amount and according to the project a AA battery could power the LiFX bulb in standby for 1-2 Years. The bulb is the equivalant of a 60 watt incandescent bulb or 50 watt halogen downlight although they are still looking at the best LED lamps to use in the production version.
The bulbs are available in your choice of Edison Screw, Bayonet Cap or Downlight to suit your lighting fixture and you will be asked which type of casing you require via a survey at the end of the project. LIFX hope to deliver their product in March 2013, pledges start at $69 for a single LIFX bulb which includes shipping to Australia, Canada and the US and continues up depending on how many bulbs you would like to purchase.
Although it has 54 days remaining the latest campaign email update advises that they are about to start limiting pledges to focus both on the quality of the product and to ensure that the first round of pledges are fulfilled. They would rather rather deliver a quality product than become a large company. They will be putting up a website once pledges have closed so that people can put their name down to be included in a second production run.
Like all these projects, we are here to inform not advocate backing the project. That said I’ve invested in two of the bulbs to see how they go. (Ed: Chris might as well.