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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.

Living with Color

This week some of the tech guys and I got away to the country for a couple of days of undistracted LIFX work in the country.

Things are progressing smoothly on the hardware front the remaining big decisions heading into production are final enclosure design and LED head layout. It's not possible to make final calls on this until we perform detailed thermal modeling and standardized measurements of light output, color rendering index, white balance agility, etc. of our LED shortlist. We'll keep you posted on this of course. 

I did want to share a couple of things that happened during the tech retreat which struck me as pretty interesting at the time. 

Here’s one for the techies (or the video’s a good insight for anyone interested). 

Andy Gelme (our lead engineer responsible for the software stack) spent an hour or two one evening whipping up another proof-of-concept variation of the audio visualizer. He used Quartz Composer to access his laptop microphone and perform a simple mapping of frequency levels to color. These were then sent as TCP/IP based messages over WiFi to a prototype LIFX bulb. And it worked surprisingly well- clap and it would pulse white, chat away and it would cycle through colors depending on frequency. 

Here’s Andy diving deeper into exactly how he developed this variation. We think it’s pretty neat. 

The speed and ease in which Andy could build something as cool as this, plus the responsiveness of the bulb in this further test tells me that the choices we've been making at a software/networking/standards level are spot on. We can't wait to hack more on these things and see what the wider community can cook up too. Kinect anyone? 

The other event that stuck in my mind was one evening when we were all sitting around a large, oak table sharing wine, chatting and tapping away on laptops. 

In the middle of the table was a LIFX lamp which we were taking turns controlling via the prototype Android app. After a few rounds the light seemed to settle on a nice peachy, sunset type color. 

Then, around half an hour later, the light was switched off suddenly and it was absolutely striking how bland the scene appeared compared to the warm glow moments before. I don't think any of us fully realize the impact of accurately and simply controlling the color of our environs just yet, but I'm finding the more I experience it, the more I miss not having it all the time. 

Even small, subtle shifts in color impact the ambience/mood of a space on top of the fun you can have with audio visualization and other effects are what I really look forward to being able to explore with you all. 


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    1. pclabtech on November 14, 2012

      What most people keep forgetting is that Kickstarter is not a store. Most of what you are doing is pledging monies to help get a product to market and produced for the masses. You as the pledger will get "bennies" for helping that cause, but you are not guaranteed that the product will be "ready on the shelf" as soon as the KS ends. This is the nature of the beast unfortunately.

    2. Mark T on November 14, 2012

      @Chris B I'm hoping to jump from an early bird 1x to a 2x. :Fingers Crossed:

    3. Missing avatar

      Chris B on November 14, 2012

      Lots of moving and shaking in the last few days of the campaign. I've been able to get in for 2... then upgraded to 10 (I was a little nervous as that's a LOT of money for me...) and finally down to 4. I'm a happy camper!

    4. Michele Chalice on November 14, 2012

      Uh-oh, just saw the "MArch 2013" posting. Thanks

    5. Michele Chalice on November 14, 2012

      Was hoping to get our prototype bulbs for Christmas for my husband. Did I "miss-underhear" the message? (as my young daughter would say. DId I miss that this was an investment in the future production? Or when can I anticipate delivery?

    6. Andreas
      on November 13, 2012

      @Ellie Trybuch: don't discount the need for easy control. That's exactly what's missing from the Philips Hue at the moment. Also, whipping out your phone every time you walk into a room gets old pretty fast. Better external switches are needed, thus the requirement for a good API.

    7. Missing avatar

      Chris B on November 13, 2012

      Okay, I know I'm late to the party, so maybe this has been hashed out already... But with the deadline right around the corner to be in or out on this... how does Lifx compare with Philips Hue? I see some advantages on the Lifx: First, it's brighter, reportedly more than a 60 Watt incandescent (about 720 lumes). The Hue is only around 600 lumes (or about a 50 watt old style bulb). Lifx also doesn't appear to need a separate hub. Also, a smaller company like Lifx is probably going to be more responsive to it's customers as far as listening to their desires ability to integrate with other things (*cough* SmartThings *cough*).

      The main advantage on the Hue is... it's available now. Lifx has an ETA of March, but I know most KickStarter project end up late due to many unforeseen events. How "on schedule" is Lifx right now?

      Oh, one other mark against Hue... many Android reviews of the app on the play store talk about the lack of features like timers or special effects totally missing right now.

    8. Missing avatar

      deleted on November 13, 2012

      The author of this comment has been deleted.

    9. Missing avatar

      Chris B on November 13, 2012

      Timing is everything people! Lucky enough to be browsing the site when I saw someone back out and I was able to jump in! Yeah me!

    10. Missing avatar

      Ellie Trybuch on November 13, 2012

      Guys I think that getting the voice interplay is a nice SIDE attraction. For most investors, including myself I think that having a working LED light that is controlled by the mobile phone and can change colors is the most important and that should be done and get to the market as soon as possible. All else is a nice tech thing that will be nice down the road. Time is being wasted.???

    11. Missing avatar

      Basile Bluntschli on November 13, 2012

      Is your IP stack dual stack ready? IPv4 and IPv6?

    12. Missing avatar

      Hector Silva
      on November 13, 2012

      I think this little video has done a lot to dissuade people's fears.

      What would be an interesting feature would be to set up a "light playlist". e.g. something along the lines of opening up a Calendar in LIFX Cloud or within the app itself whereby you can set the lighting in a room or collection of lights at 9PM-10PM to be Blue.

    13. pclabtech on November 13, 2012

      @Douglas, I had commented about that too... cues like "Red Alert Captain!" and the lights shift to red. Lightning flashes in the movie and causes the bulbs to do the same and then go dark.

      Great when Halloween comes and you want to set up the moody ambiance with flashing lightning and red shifting hues in a window.

    14. Missing avatar

      Jim on November 13, 2012

      Ha. That Dexter scenario would be pretty creepy.

    15. Missing avatar

      Jake on November 13, 2012

      Very cool. Thanks for the update.

    16. Phil Bosua 3-time creator on November 12, 2012

      @douglas - thanks! We're excited about this too!
      @mike - nothing like a couple of reds under a red light :)

    17. Douglas Bailey on November 12, 2012

      Excellent point on mood lighting. Maybe one day TV Shows will be able to send cues to our LIFXs to help set the right mood. I can just imagine seeing Dexter take a stab and then the living room snaps to blood red. :)

    18. mike smith on November 12, 2012

      Got a couple of good reds there on the table? :)