Fixtureless smart panels illuminate with Lego-like construction
When it comes to the placement of interior lighting, much of the thought involved tends to relate to reaching nearby outlets. But the latest lights Toronto-based Nanoleaf may end up providing creative individuals one extra element to puzzle over. The Nanoleaf Aurora Smarter Kit is designed to be a modular lighting solution, featuring WiFi-controlled, color-adjustable, triangular panels that snap together like Lego.
Multi-color LED smartbulbs are fairly common these days, thanks to products like the Philips Hue or LIFX bulb paving the way years ago. Versus traditional bulbs, LED lights tout greater energy efficiency and longer life spans, and many also offer wireless remote control and/or IoT-integration. But while the vast majority of these bulbs require a standard A19 fixture to screw into, the Nanoleaf Aurora Smarter Kit needs only open wall (or ceiling) space and a bit of imagination.
The Nanoleaf Aurora Smarter Kit's 8.25 in (21 cm) by 9.4 in (24 cm) triangle-shaped RGBW panels are designed to be arranged and joined together on any flat surface. Double-sided mounting tape holds each 7.4 oz (210 g) panel in place, while linkers (also included) connect neighboring units to pass along power and instructions. Up to 30 of these LEDs are meant to be supported by one single power supply, which can be plugged into any side of any panel.
In a way, these 2-watt, 100 lumen panels seem to come together as if Nanoleaf flattened out one of its dodecahedron-inspired bulbs. But a significant feature difference is that each Aurora Smarter Kit panel can be adjusted independently from the others, all without the need of a separate hub. The whole system connects to any local 2.4 GHz b/g/n wireless network, and a physical controller offers on/off and scene toggling when a smartphone/tablet may not be in reach.
The Nanoleaf Smarter Series mobile app, available for iOS and Android, is designed to automatically detect and sync panel layout. Users are able to customize colors, temperature (ranges from 2,200 K to 5,000 K for color, 2,200 K to 6,000 K for white), brightness, automated schedules, and even lighting animations for individual or groups of panels. Not only can created scenes be saved for easy access, but Nanoleaf Aurora lights respond to Apple's Siri or Amazon's Alexa voice commands.
Nanoleaf Aurora Smarter Kits are available for US$200, which includes nine panels, linkers, stencil paper, mounting tape, power supply, and controller unit. Three-panel expansion packs (complete with linkers and tape) are available for $60, but require the Aurora Smarter Kit in order to function.