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LIFX is a WiFi enabled, multi-color, energy efficient LED light bulb that you control with your iPhone or Android.
LIFX is a WiFi enabled, multi-color, energy efficient LED light bulb that you control with your iPhone or Android.
9,236 backers pledged $1,314,542 to help bring this project to life.

Not standing still...

Hi all,

It’s been a little while since our last update so we wanted to give you the rundown on what's been happening at LIFX HQ. We certainly haven't been standing still.

The big news is we’re about to sign on a major production partner and whilst we shouldn’t reveal exactly who this is just yet, it’s a major milestone for us and the LIFX project. 

It’s awesome to think we could have 50x LIFX first production prototypes in our hands within 4-6 weeks. This will put us ahead of where we expected to be at this point in time.

To answer some questions/comments on the competition out there too: our thoughts are that choice in any consumer space is a good thing. It makes products better, drives the level of innovation for consumers and will bring out the best in everyone involved.

No doubt there will be other large hardware vendors working to produce first generation smartbulbs too. Your support will ensure that innovation and openness drive the next generation of products that find their way into our homes.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’ve been up to over the past couple of weeks:

- Master/Slave- be gone! Every LIFX bulb can now be a GATEWAY (power to the WiFi chips will be toggled as required). For clarity: there will now only be one type of LIFX bulb (WiFi chip in all).
- Settled into our new Melbourne workspace.
- Attended the Hong Kong International Lighting Fair.
- Found our production partner- exchanging legals now.
- Committed to a RGB+W LED head configuration for maximum color and warm white power options.
- Narrowed down microcontroller choices between Texas Instruments and ST Microelectronics chip sets - now working out best price, production and availability etc. before we make our final decision.
- On-going software development- building upon the original prototype and fleshing out the network messages and library APIs. Progress is going well.
- Mapped out the “LIFX Cloud” web gateway concept and meeting with developers next week to make this happen
- Started building a simulation application to make LIFX app dev easier (to be published of course).
- Received over 15,000 forms of registered interest on lifx.co for a second production run.

In depth:

No more master vs slave bulb! Based on the cost estimates coming in, we’re confident enough to make the call that there will be a WiFi chip in every bulb. Obviously this makes for much a cleaner setup and more robust networking if the LIFX software can automatically nominate the best bulb (at any given time) to talk with your router. We’re thrilled to finally bed this down and remove the need for different physical bulbs, power-sucking hubs or any other single points of failure.

In terms of LED configuration- LIFX will feature a combination of powerful white LEDs with RGBs on the head. This gives a lot of flexibility in terms of providing bright light plus any combination of hue and intensity. 60w equivalent is the minimum working target for us to create a legitimate bulb replacement versus that of a fancy mood light. Via a spectrophotometer we can measure the direct color output of the final LIFX setup across the spectrum. This will allow us to produce software maps that accurately match selected colours on an iPhone screen, for example.

“LIFX Cloud” is an additional, free component of the platform we intend to roll out with launch. It’s essentially an optional web gateway to the LIFX mesh. Practically speaking it provides a dead simple way (no ip/port/firewall setup) to remotely control your bulbs (via apps or a web interface). It will also expose an authenticated REST API to the wider web for easy integration with the likes of ifttt.com, Pebble, SmartThings, Ubi, Ninja Blocks or any other internet-enabled service. We believe in this concept enough to dedicate an additional, full-time software engineer to LIFX Cloud between here and launch.

Note: LIFX Cloud is optional. You can still control your lights without the LIFX Cloud. LIFX Cloud simply allows you to connect the internet to your bulbs and benefit from all the goodies that come with that.

On the software development side, we’re working on the lightbulb firmware, along with the iOS and Android clients. A significant portion of the firmware is platform independent C/C++ code, including the messaging / scripting parser and execution engine. Our first preference for the operating system and networking stack is Contiki, which runs on both of the preferred microcontroller choices and has excellent support for 6LoWPAN (IPv6). By utilizing the 6LoWPAN implementation of IPv6, we’re future proofing LIFX against the potential lock-in of special interest groups, proprietary standards and licensing restrictions.

We are now in full “heads down, bums up” mode pulling together everything we need to take to China so we can roll out the first 50 prototype bulbs. Once we land in China it takes about 2 weeks to get these first prototypes off the production line and into our hands. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on the process.

Oh, and if you're wondering what that tube is. It's something we've been cooking in the lab. 

Thanks for reading and we'll be back again soon. 

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Comments

    1. Creator Chuckles on November 12, 2012

      @Dan Maley: This feature has been identified as a "nice to have" / "wouldn't it be great if..." by various parties a number of times, but is has never been included in the feature set promised for the product.
      I suspect integration with an external motion sensor via platforms such as SmartThings ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/smartthings/smartthings-make-your-world-smarter ) is a far more likely scenario, at least in the short to medium term.

    2. Creator Dan Maley on November 12, 2012

      Do the bulbs have any motion sensing capability?

    3. Creator AmericaMotorClub.com ($3k - $9k+ weekly) on November 10, 2012

      /I am extremely anxious to see how these bulbs will turn out! I definitely wish the best for you all, and hate that I discovered this so late, or I would have GLADLY did the $500.00+ pledge.

      Ron of AmericaMotorClub.com

    4. Creator Faryl Zaklin on November 9, 2012

      Glad to hear things are going so well! Will the new production partner mean earlier bulb availability for those of us who didn't get to pledge before you stopped taking orders?

      At this point does it make sense to increase my pledge amount (even though there are no reward levels open) or will you be starting to fill the pre-orders from your site soon? :)

    5. Creator Alan Chernotsky on November 8, 2012

      what is Philips hue? LED light bulb.

      Please comment.

    6. Creator Chuckles on November 7, 2012

      @Katsumi & Scott: From the project's home page:

      "Any bulb, any color"
      "Choose any brightness for a specific bulb, a room or your whole house"

      The tech blog ( http://lifxtech.blogspot.com.au/ ) provides more insight on how individual bulbs are addressable.

      In short, yes.

    7. Creator Scott Ramsden on November 7, 2012

      Hi there, any answer to Katsumi's question?

    8. Creator Katsumi Taki on November 2, 2012

      Can I control the color of two or more LIFXs separately?

    9. Creator Phil Bosua on October 31, 2012

      Thanks for all the comments folks!

      @brian and @derek @mark - we're you're excited about the tube. We are too ;)
      @Andreas @tramber and @thoms - few of the differences have been mentioned below; and our real edge will be in user experience. There's a few "works like magic" things we've got up our sleeve.
      @ryan - thanks for continuing to write great responses in the comment stream
      @wabice - huh? ;)

    10. Creator Ryan Blackwood on October 30, 2012

      @ Brent Tucker & XD

      Phillips offers apps for Android and iOS (But does not offer Blackberry or PC platforms).
      Phillips Hue is 600 Lumens or 50w equivalent (Specs towards the bottom of the page http://www.newscenter.philips.com/main/standard/news/press/2012/20121029-Introducing-Philips-hue.wpd)

    11. Creator Brian Holme on October 30, 2012

      one thing i would suggest is possibly looking at having 3 strips in the tube in a triangle pattern so that light is shining all directions out of the tube.

    12. Creator William Muk on October 30, 2012

      Hi Phil, thanks for the update. Very happy to know that there are no longer different master/slave bulbs. Previously you told me that if I wanted to add more bulbs, I'd have to add $69 per master bulb and $49 per slave bulb. With this latest news, please advise how much do I add for each bulb? Thanks.

    13. Creator Wabice on October 30, 2012

      You want to know the very first thing that came to mind when I saw that tube bar bulb?

      "All hands! Red Alert!" - All light goes red.

      Oh please I hope that can do what the standard LIFX bulbs will do.

    14. Creator Mark Jacob on October 30, 2012

      Is it too weird that I'm this excited over a light bulb. I'll bet this is how everyone felt when the original light bulb was first invented!

    15. Creator Derek Smith on October 30, 2012

      If that's a LED bar that uses the same connection as fluorescent tubes, I just might pee myself.

    16. Creator Brian Holme on October 30, 2012

      that is awesom that you are working on a floresent tube LIFX!

    17. Creator Andreas on October 30, 2012

      I haven't been able to find any mention of the brightness of the Hue bulbs on their web site. I don't believe an experienced lighting supplier like Philips would unintentionally forget listing that…

    18. Creator Jamie on October 30, 2012

      @Jackob Buron.. hopefully the difference is less interference with my home wifi network .. I'd hate to have a reduction in local network capacity / signal due to having the lights on!
      @lolke - bluetooth has a limited range, plus I'm not sure how paring/unparing would work.

    19. Creator XD on October 30, 2012

      From what I understand, the master/slave change is that all LIFX bulbs can be a master or slave, and not that there won't be master/slaves. Hue uses a wired bridge, then 'RF' to the bulbs, which supposedly uses less electricity than WiFi. This is the primarily difference I see.

      A 60w equivalent is really a tough ask. Current common LED bulbs just do not offer that brightness. If LIFX can truly achieve that, then the brightness itself is arguably worth the price.

    20. Creator Lolke on October 30, 2012

      No more master- slave..

      Did you consider bluetooth? Easier to set up (security) less clutter on the network.

    21. Creator Aymerick Dupouey on October 30, 2012

      I have updated my pledge to get more LIFX like you offered before, but now that every light is the same, i wanted to know how many you now ask for each bulb.

      Thanks

    22. Creator Jakob Buron on October 30, 2012

      With a WiFi transceiver in every bulb, why use 802.15.4 mesh at all?
      What is the power consumption difference btw WiFi and 802.15.4?

    23. Creator jeby on October 30, 2012

      If you read the update(s) you can find that:
      - LIFX will have an Android app for sure
      - LIFX will have a WebApp and a "cloud" service to control bulbs
      - All LIFX library code will be open source.
      - HUE need a hub: more cables, more energy waste

    24. Creator Roger Pettersen on October 30, 2012

      Hue need a bridge/hub, to work.
      The bridge need to be connected to power, and maybe to the router via TP-cable.

      The LIFX have all this build in, in every single bulb, so you just connect to the wifi.

      Else, it is the LED and design. Who have the best LED, we dont know yet. And who have the best design? Well... LIFX havent a offical design yet.

      I'm going to wait for the LIFX, just becuse it have build in the "bridge".

    25. Creator Brent Tucker on October 30, 2012

      I hope that one difference will be that the LIFX has an Android app. Please guys don't forget the driod app, Phillips has.

    26. Creator Tramber En Short on October 30, 2012

      Yes, tell us more on the difference between LIFX and Philips HUE

    27. Creator Jason Bradshaw on October 30, 2012

      Great news on your progress.

      Can I ask how is this going to be different to Phillips Hue that has been released.

    28. Creator Francis Lukesh on October 30, 2012

      Looks like Hue requires a "Hue bridge" control center, while LIFX doesn't. I was really excited about that part of the announcement (no master/slave).

    29. Creator Thomas Knüwer on October 30, 2012

      How will Lifx differ from Philips Hue?