What do you guys think of this lightbulb? (in Off-topic)

AdminQBVerifex September 17 2012 5:58 PM EDT

LIFX Wi-fi lightbulbs

Demigod September 17 2012 7:37 PM EDT

Well, here we go. Sorry, but I'm going to kick this Kickstarter square in the cherries. I would absolutely not invest in this.

While the idea is interesting, it's pure novelty. The reason we have light switches on wall-plates is because they work; it's simple, almost effortless, universal, independent, and reliable. When someone walks into rooms (dozens of times each day), he or she is not going to fish out the phone, slide to unlock it, pull up the app, and then play with the controls. The person will just flip the wall switch without even thinking.

As for the selling points, those are pure novelty as well.

1. Consumers can use the color wheel to change the hue? Colored lights exist right now, but they only sell around Halloween. And just just like computer monitors and TVs, the moment you find the right levels, you never adjust them again.

2. A bulb can flash when you get a text message? If only there was something less annoying... like the default beep alert phones currently have.

3. Lights can change to match music? Pretty much every computer music player has offered this functionality since the late 90s. You know who uses it? Very few.

4. Energy savings? Nope. It's supposedly a little bit more efficient than compacts, but the cost per bulb will be ridiculously higher, by far negating any potential benefit.

Ultimately, market success relies on cost-to-utility. The utility is seemingly low, and while cost is speculative, the maker said in the video that a $69 is effectively a pre-order. $69 for a party light. On the bookshelf in my home office, I have two lava lamps and a blacklight collecting dust already, and I got those for $5-20. The creative lighting aspect just won't sell many units unless the final price-point is significantly lower than expected.

However, the aspect of controlling lights from outside the home is worth noting. This is something that exists right now and has existed for quite a while, but I don't think anyone's got it correct yet. So far, the methods involve keychain dongles or expensive home systems (including options from cable providers).

The marketing really should focus on everyday uses rather than teen novelties... hell, it should really focus on commercial uses rather than consumer.

Unappreciated Misnomer September 17 2012 7:57 PM EDT

I saw it this morning on Reddit. I was less than excited when is was not about http://www.ted.com/talks/harald_haas_wireless_data_from_every_light_bulb.html

TH3 C0113CT0R September 17 2012 8:59 PM EDT

well the 'disco ball' light bulb is kinda lame, is another way someone is going to get rich from people buying stupid stuff they don't need.

But as to the 'light' data transmission link radio posted interested me, I'd like to see more of what it can do.

Fishead September 17 2012 10:44 PM EDT

I like the concept of controlling individual light bulbs without having to wire each one to a different switch. The RGB color changing thing is a bit of a novelty, but I could see the ability to go from a more subtle warmer light to a cooler color light could be useful. This could also eliminate having to wire in a 3 way switch like in a stairwell or hallway. It would make wiring a house so much easier.

The switches wouldn't have to be hard wired in either, they could be simplified versions of the smart phone, giving the basic on/off dimming capability. In actuality, having the lights on a normal switch would be more trouble. Imagine if you were trying to turn on the light with your phone, only to find that the switch was off and you have to get up to turn them on anyway.

They're a bit expensive, but I think if you were to look at the cost of hard wiring that kind of control into your home versus just having power to bring power to them, the cost would be well worth it, especially considering the long term cost savings. If I were doing a remodel and changing or updating the wiring in my home I would seriously consider something like this.

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] September 17 2012 10:51 PM EDT

iPhones and velcro put to good use. ;)

Sickone September 18 2012 8:26 AM EDT

Since it's via WiFi, I suppose having a wireless router would also let you control them from your PC.
You can still use them with the classic on/off switch (that's the whole point, it works with an "AND" logic) if you mount them as such, or you can mount them directly to the mains in some places and control them exclusively via WiFi.

As for the price, they do briefly flash a "49$ if you order 4", so I guess production costs are actually noticeably lower than that, and it's probably with small-series intensive MANUAL labour costs included plus small-to-medium primary material price levels (which are also noticeably higher than massive bulk order prices).
If they ever make it to an industrial-sized mass-production line with huge production volumes and a supply chain to match, I can see the production price per bulb easily dropping below 20$, so they could sell it for as little as 25$ for some serious profit.
Also, LEDs are poised to drop in cost soon, as quite a few research teams are working on cheaper ways to manufacture the diodes, so any company that focuses on "novelty" LED lighting could easily find itself being able to offer them at lower and lower prices, competing with CFLs.

They briefly mention a 10W power usage and equivalence to 60W incandescents.
I have in my house mostly CLFs, but also two commercial LED lights, but they're 3W each for 6W total, yet two of them provide nearly as much light as a single 60W incandescent or a 12W CFL, give or take. Their retail cost was around 7 USD, so combined they cost me 14$, and I don't feel like I overpaid at all, even if they're just a cluster of LEDs without any special diffusion lens (you can actually see each individual LED in them, and there's 40 of them in each.
LEDs that are not "white"-ish consume a bit more power and are ever so slightly more expensive, and these guys say the light levels for their bulb is about on par with a 60W incandescent, so I'm guessing they probably have about 100-120 LEDs per bulb (possibly something like 35 red, 30 blue, 25 green, 15 cool white, 15 warm white), and their circuit boards don't really use that much power.

I would consider (at the current level of technology) a NON-WiFi bulb providing the rough lighting efficiency of a 60W incandescent and manufactured with a diffusion screen that can be manually set at certain light colour temperatures to be fairly priced for about 25$, maybe even as much as 30$.
50$ is indeed a bit much right now for the WiFi thing, but not by THAT much extra. I can easily see the added value, maybe not for just everybody, but for businesses and such, it can surely be worth it.

All in all, could potentially be a nice thing, but maybe not for me personally just yet.

Thug [Sponge] September 18 2012 12:17 PM EDT

I think you need to be forward thinking. Not, what it is but, what it could lead to. 3D 4D entertainment. New ways of interactive gaming.
The cost while high right now, usually goes down on new tech fairly rapidly.

Sickone September 18 2012 1:18 PM EDT

4D entertainment


Thug [Sponge] September 18 2012 1:36 PM EDT

They will call it what they want. You could be sitting in the middle of a war zone,a car wreck, A plane add some fans for wind. Space. A new way to learn. Let the fun begin.

Demigod September 18 2012 6:09 PM EDT

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