Smart LED lightbulbs typically let you change their color. Some provide more advanced functionality, like simple automation. The new Ilumi smartbulb, however, has a host of features that make it far more versatile than others. It's also said to be brighter and more energy efficient.
This is the second generation of Ilumi bulbs, and there are actually two models. The 10-watt A19 standard bulb is designed for everyday fittings and produces 800 lumens of brightness (the equivalent to a 60 W incandescent bulb). There's also a 14-watt BR30 flood bulb for recessed and track lighting, that produces 1150 lumens of brightness (the equivalent to an 85 W incandescent bulb).
In order to install an Ilumi bulb, the user need only screw it into a light fitting and then pair it to their smartphone using the accompanying mobile app for Android or iOS. The bulbs connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth Smart mesh wireless connectivity, which Ilumi says makes it simpler to set up than those that use Wi-Fi. It provides a range of 150 ft (46 m).
Once set up, the bulbs can be controlled with the app. Naturally, it's possible to change the color of the lighting, including from a range of different white light colors depending on your preference. Many of the other functionalities, though, are designed to be more useful than that.
The bulbs can be set to create a simulated sunrise in the morning that aims to wake users up in a peaceful and energizing way. Another function, called Wellness Lighting, is also aimed at optimizing light conditions for the user's body. It replicates the sun's daily color cycle in order to stay in sync with our natural circadian rhythms.
A user's presence can be detected based on the proximity of their phone to the bulb, and this can be used to switch the light on and off automatically. Alternatively, daily routines can be scheduled so that lights go on and off when required. It's also possible for a user to have a bulb switch on and off automatically and at random times when they are away on holiday to give the impression that someone is home.
There are a variety of suggested lighting profiles built into the bulb that can be set according to the user's location or even by their taking a photo of their current environment. One of the Ilumi bulbs' other simple but useful features is what the firm calls the "Nightlight Shake." This allows users to shake their smartphone to activate dim lighting, should they need to get up in the night.
Although all this functionality makes the bulbs considerably more expensive than standard incandescents or even basic LEDs, Ilumi says they last for 20 years. In addition, it says its HyperLux technology allows the bulbs to shine brighter and use less energy when compared to similar multicolor LED light bulbs.
A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign is underway for the new Ilumi bulbs. At the time of writing, individuals who pledge from US$29 can receive an A19 standard bulb, and can receive a BR30 flood bulb from $35. Shipping is expected from September, if all goes according to plans.
The video below is an introduction to the new Ilumi smartbulbs.
Update: Following the successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised over $365,000, Ilumi has released its second-gen A19 and BR30 smartbulbs, which are now available in the US.
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