Thomas Edison was a smart cookie – we’d all be in the dark without the inventor’s mass-production light bulb – but even the great man would be agog at the amazing levels to which Philips are taking electric light.
Philips hue is a system of lighting using up to 50 wireless LED bulbs and smartphone technology to transform the way we bring light into our lives. Each bulb is capable of producing any colour in the spectrum, and is controlled by an app which works wonders at the touch of a button. Create your own personalised mood lighting – perhaps you’d like to relive the sunset from a favourite holiday snap, or try a pre-set scheme scientifically proven to help you concentrate, or read more easily.
It’s already next generation stuff, but something extra special happens when you get social. The hue app’s IFTTT (If This Then That) compatibility allows interaction to the likes of Facebook, email and Instagram, and can let you know when a friend has posted a picture or when an important message has arrived by blinking a chosen bulb, or changing colour. Match the light indoors to the weather outside, adjust gradually for the sunrise – the possibilities are endless. The hue system can even use your phone to detect when you are nearly home and give you a warm, light welcome.
Philips has now given hue a couple of new friends to play with – Lightstrips and LivingColors Bloom. Lightstrips are flexible strips of LED lights that can be used to accentuate a feature in your home – we put them around artwork, along our staircase banister and used them to transform our Features Editor into a living Christmas tree. Naturally. For our more practical readers, they’re discreet enough to hide away behind an object like a stereo speaker, could be used to uplight a sofa or kitchen unit, or placed around a priceless objet d’art, making sure no one crashes into it at your next cocktail party. What do you mean you don’t go to those type of cocktail parties?. The LivingColors Bloom table lamps, on the other hand, are too pretty to hide away. These sculptural devices add an extra dimension to the light-scape of any room, and are a highlight in themselves.
With Philips hue and Friends of hue, science fiction has become science fact. It’s time to stop thinking of lights in terms of “off” and “on”, and instead ask “how?”. Whatever the lighting question, the answer is hue.
* Bonus beats: the folk at Philips have launched a Facebook competition to win the whole kit, just in time for Christmas. You lucky sods you…