In the home of the future, there will be no light switches, but the light will always be perfect, syncing itself with the sun and adjusting to your circadian rhythm. The smart home vision for future of lighting is energy efficient and completely responsive. And according to Stack, that future is now.
The lighting company just announced the Alba, a smart LED bulb that adjusts itself based on your behaviour. Equipped with proximity sensors, the app-powered system pays attention to your movements and the time of day to decide the perfect type of lighting. It’s cooler in the morning when you’re waking up, and warms up into the evenings to help improve your sleeping patterns. The company says that the Alba setup completely does away with the need for light switches and will save you hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs.
Well, that sounds pretty futuristic, although motion sensors have done away with the need for light switches in plenty of places. The proximity sensors aren’t just there to automate when the lights go on and off, though. They turn your house or building into a bit of a brain. “The way we see it is because we have these sensors in the bulb — and if you think about it, generally lights are the most common electronic devices in a building … we become the backbone of a responsive sensor network throughout the house,” Stack CEO Neil Joseph, a former Tesla engineer, told TechCrunch.
The vision for the Alba system goes well beyond the residential sphere. Joseph says that he actually wants the sensor-equipped light bulbs to act as iBeacons in order monitor foot traffic and other activity. That data could be used by other devices that connect to Apple’s HomeKit API or Google’s Nest API. You can imagine how this would be valuable in a retail setting, and it’s only a little bit creepy.
The future is not cheap. A starter kit of two Alba bulbs and a hub that connects them will cost $US150 and the proximity sensors cost another $US20. Each individual bulb goes for $US60, so you’d better have deep pockets if you plan to do your whole house. Suddenly, Philips Hue sounds like a bargain. [TechCrunch]