Light bulbs – we all need them, but truth be told, they tend to be just a little bit boring (even when they do change color by themselves). Smartbunch is hoping to change that with its eponymous modular light that lets you design your own table lamps, overhead lights and any illuminations you can conjure, big or small, with its LED triangles that snap together to make all manner of 3D shapes.
Though described as a light bulb, Smartbunch is really more a self-illuminating light fitting. The pieces are designed to be attractive while not producing harsh light so light shades shouldn't be needed. Each piece is an equilateral triangle hosting an array of LEDs. The triangles have sides 101 mm (almost 4 inches) long. Smartbunch says its LEDs are dimmable.
At the heart of Smartbunch is the aptly-named power triangle which provides juice to the thing. These come in three types: from an Edison screw to replace regular light bulbs, a pendant triangle which can be wired to a ceiling rose, and plug-in lamp triangle to create table top lamps. There's also a rechargeable battery option if you want a completely cordless light.
Additional triangles magnetically click to the power triangle, and to each other, with no need for fiddly wires or connections as power is transmitted by touch. And because the pieces are magnetic, Smartbunch points out that 2D arrangements can be attached to magnetic materials like exposed steel or fridge doors. Whether 2D or 3D, a custom Smartbunch can be thrown together in moments.
The triangles come in a number of finishes, including birch, oak, steel, copper, white aluminum, graphite aluminum and white "opal" (which we're guessing is plastic).
Smartbunch describes its modular lighting as "extremely long-lasting," which, provided the LEDs are good quality, and it's designed with heat management in mind, should indeed prove the case.
In the future, the company intends the Smartbunch to be controllable using a smartphone app. Further, it hopes it will become a smart-home hub. The company touts possible music speakers, security alarms, cameras – all triangles with integrated lighting which snap together in the same way.
The company promises further improvements to the design. "The prototype shown in all our photos and videos has been upgraded and improved in many ways," it writes on its Kickstarter page. "The visible electrical contacts will be much more slim, curved at edges, grouped and not so obvious." There's no word yet on whether the company intends to introduce light squares to give users more options when creating shapes.
Smartbunch says it's offering discounts to early adopters on Kickstarter. A limited starter pack with four white opal triangles starts at £50 (US$71). Meanwhile, a limited pack of 20 triangles in a choice of finish starts at £195 ($276). At the time of writing the campaign has raised £13,574 of its £50,000 target with 28 days to go. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October.
We've asked Smartbunch to clear up a couple of points and will update this story if we hear more. Obviously it's still early days for the project, but it looks like an attractive and fun spin on home lighting which we'd like to see succeed.
You can see Smartbunch's promo video below.
Update (Mar. 28/18): Smartbunch got back to us to let us know that the white opal option is made from a semi-transparent acrylic sheet which appears solid when the LEDs are off but emits light when they're on. In respect to light output, the company doesn't quote figures in lumens, but instead an incandescent light bulb equivalent. It says a 4-W LED Smartbunch equates to a 40-W bulb, which should mean about 450 lumens. Each triangle consumes 1.4 W, so presumably that's a four-triangle configuration with three LED triangles. Further down the line, the company may introduce other shapes, including squares, pentagons and hexagons.
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