There's an entire standup routine waiting to be written about how smart home accessories can be incredibly dumb and complicated. But one of the easiest smart home upgrades, smart lighting, has just gotten easy enough for even your parents to install without calling you — if they're living in Apple's ecosystem.
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Consider the humble light globe. It hides in your ceiling, turning electricity into light, but little do you know how inefficiently it's doing that. Halogen light bulbs aren't great, but traditional incandescents are downright terrible. Ikea says that the average Aussie household could save nearly $150 a year by switching its lighting to LEDs.
Nothing classes up a room like a massive, intricate chandelier hanging overhead. But they can be a hassle to find, hard to get home, and complicated to install without tearing a hole in your ceiling. Unless the words "some assembly required" don't frighten you, in which case this flat-packed faux chandelier is a much easier alternative.
Video: The hefty, eight-armed Freefly Alta drone is capable of carrying a lot of weight. So in addition to a camera, the folks at YouTube's rctestflight channel put 1000-watts of LEDs on board, and a smoke machine, unintentionally creating the perfect way to fake an alien encounter or a UFO abduction.
The Philips Hue system is one of the few smart home solutions that work as well as you need them to, having been around for quite a few years now. But if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on the requisite wireless hub and colour-changing bulbs, Philips now has a cheaper alternative with its new SceneSwitch LED bulbs that don't require any additional hardware.
Just because you've completely shunned ebooks and e-readers for classic paper tomes, that doesn't mean you can't let a little technology improve your reading experience. Kyouei Design's Bookmark Light will not only save your page, it will also save your eyes, turning into an ultra-compact reading light.
Poking at your smartphone before bed makes it harder to fall asleep because the cool, bluish glow of its screen tricks your body think it's daytime. Warmer tones are the key to drifting off, so Philips is introducing a new white bulb to its Hue line that can be adjusted from cool to warm colour temperatures to help your body wind down at night.
Say what you will about how comfortable a hammock is for sleeping, Eagles Nest Outfitters is working to make them just a bit more hospitable with its new DoubleNest LED that incorporates a string of glowing lights so you can read, adjust your sleeping bag, or easily find your way back after a bathroom break.
ThinkGeek has made a very strong case to put a clock on your desk, even though everything from your smartphone to your laptop already has one built-in. It's packed 60 colour-changing LEDs into a spinning rainbow that makes every gruelling conference call feel like a rave.
One of the most effective ways to protect your home while you're travelling is to simply make it look like you're not actually away. But instead of wrangling timers, or having the neighbours stop by, these new BeON smart bulbs will automatically learn your daily routines and keep turning lights on and off in your absence.
At some point in their life everyone has to grow up, and the same goes for Philips' flexible Hue Lightstrips. Once the perfect way to subtly turn your living room into a colourful rave, the LED strips can now be tuned to generate more natural white light for reading the paper, or just relaxing with some knitting.
When the ultimate weapon in the galaxy — even one that's far, far away — is casting a soft glow on your slumbers, how could you possible have a bad night's sleep? A Death Star night light will not only keep the Rebellion out of your dreams, but also the bogie man and that monster living under your bed.