There’s plentiful choice if you’re after a connected, energy-efficient lightbulb that’s controlled with your phone. There’s LIFX, Philips Hue, Brightup, LuMini, Emberlight, LightFreq and Samsung’s Smart Bulb to name just a few. Features vary, although lurid lighting colours are pretty universal and some of these bulbs squeeze in even more bells and whistles (literally).
But what if you only want to control lighting brightness and don’t actually want to fiddle with your phone just to dial up or down your lights? Well, read on…
A standard wall dimmer switch is of course the traditional fix for this. But if you don’t have a dimmer switch, then you’re stuck with a binary on or off, or replacing your bulbs with the aforementioned connected smart bulbs and using an app, or buying a dimmer lamp to plug in a wall socket and using that. None of which are ideal alternatives if you just want something minimal and as easily controlled as your existing dumb bulbs.
Help is at hand. This Kickstarter project reckons it has the answer: a smarter LED lightbulb that can be set to a brightness of your choosing yet which doesn’t require an app to do that, or new wall switches to be installed. It’s even got a stylish geometric bulb design to boot.
The Nanoleaf Bloom is a dimmable lightbulb containing 33 omni-directional LED lights which uses a sequence of on/off switches at the wall to set its brightness. Which means no additional hardware and no app required. How liberating! Frankly I want one. Or possibly ten. And so it appears do plenty of others — with the Kickstarter campaign smashing past its $30,000 original funding goal in a few days. Currently it’s at $134,000+ and counting, still with 24 days left to run.
The Bloom contains a microprocessor which enables it to translate on-off switching at the wall into variable brightness at the bulb. To set brightness, the bulb is switched on at the wall which begins a fading up process. Switching the switch off/on a second time sets it at the desired brightness. And that’s it.
The bulb also includes a night mode, at 5% brightness (consuming 0.5W) — which is set by turning the switch on/off/on. And if you just want to use the Bloom like a regular energy-efficient light bulb, switching it on and leaving the switch on will mean the bulb fades up to full brightness. And switching it off turns it off. Simples!
The bulb can also be dimmed down when on by a few flicks of the switch. Or switched into night mode. And all this control is achieved without any kind of app being required. Amazing.
So how much is Nanoleaf Bloom going to cost? Early Kickstarter backers can bag one bulb for $40, so it’s certainly not cheap. But ingenious engineering and smart, minimalist design are worth supporting.