Imagine a smart eco-friendly LED powered bulb that has a tiny electronic brain and some awareness of what’s going on around it. It is clever enough that if you put it in a bedside lamp it could detect that you have woken up and heading for a midnight toilet visit, it knows the time, so it turns on dimly to not hurt your eyes. It could flash an urgent amber to remind you that your pizza had enough time in the oven and most importantly, it can connect to other objects over Wi-Fi.
These smart lights could automatically fade on and off to save energy as your home’s occupants amble from room to room. They could alert you when you’ve got new emails, triggered by signals coming from your PC or tablet, or help you find a mislaid smartphone by detecting its Wi-Fi signature and then steering you to the room where you have left it. This is really useful, this is smart.
By being smart, the traditional lightbulb is transformed into a helpful and interactive Internet of Things device. Its smart powers may contribute to your relaxation, health or happiness, as lighting effects your mood.
This technology is arriving as we speak because multiple developments have happened all at once. Coloured LED lighting is now powerful, reliable and low priced enough to be built into consumer electronic devices and sold cheaply in bulk. Tiny low-processor chips, like those by ARM, and their ancillary circuits are powerful and ubiquitous thanks to innovations in smartphone design. Moreover, wireless radio systems like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are ubiquitous, tiny, cheap, and economical enough to be built into devices like a lightbulb. This technology creates the ability to transform everyday objects into smart and magical items.
The technology could even go into your home’s irrigation system. Imagine a lawn that knows when it needs a sprinkle by detecting the dryness of the grass or a flowerbed that knows it needs water by detecting the soil dryness. This system will then be smart, and will not waste water. Smart lightbulbs could also be used for security systems by placing sensors in the bulbs that detect intruders, and report in real-time.
To conclude, the smart lightbulb could perform all kinds of functionalities to increase our quality of life and assist us in our daily lives. We are keen to follow the next exciting developments for this ‘smart bulb’.