A bright idea from Philips

Ben Moss.
October 31, 2012
A bright idea from Philips.

Now the lights are coming back on in New York, a lot of our regular readers may be feeling a little nostalgic for cosy intimacy of the flashlights and candles.

Lighting affects us like nothing else. Warm, orange colors seem to increase the temperature in the room, whereas cold bluish whites help foster concentration.

The trouble is, you can't run round the apartment changing bulbs every time you want to adjust the mood.

Cue a bright idea from Philips: the electronics giant has released the Hue system; a set of bulbs wirelessly connected to a bridge device, the color and intensity of which you can then control with a dedicated iPhone or iPad app.

Philips have included what they term lighting recipes with the app; tones and hues that they have developed for use in places such as schools and hospitals to help improve concentration, relaxation, reading and even help increase energy levels.

Working hard ahead of tomorrow's meeting? Switch to the concentration preset.

Need to relax afterwards? Switch to the relaxation setting, or pick a photo of that beach bar last summer and customize your lighting to recreate the mood.

Hue even helps you sleep: a timer slowly dims the lighting as you drift off at night; then a bright invigorating light gently fills your room to wake you in the morning.

Get prepared for that meeting with the energize setting.


You can control the system from anywhere in the world, allowing you to trick crooks into thinking you're in when you're not. So if you live in a particularly bad neighborhood but you forgot to leave a light on at home, you can switch a few lights on and off while you commute.

Won that job you were preparing to pitch? Great, invite the team back to yours and host an impromptu party. Go wild decorating every room with light and colour, all before you get back.

Surely, it's only a matter of time before an artist replaces all the bulbs in their building and creates live animation on an epic scale; tweaking the light in windows like pixels, direct from their iPhone. If it hasn't been done yet, it should be.

With Hurricane Sandy bringing home the dangers of climate change, what really matters is that Hue uses 80% less electricity that a standard bulb; that means you can enjoy a digital lighting experience, while reducing your bills and helping the planet.

Philips' Hue is currently available via Apple Stores, but an idea this good will spread fast, expect to be decorating your apartment as easily as you change your phone's wallpaper, sometime soon.

Have you bought Philips' Hue system yet? How are you finding it? Let us know in the comments.

Featured image/thumbnail, Light image via Shutterstock

Ben Moss

Ben Moss has designed and coded work for award-winning startups, and global names including IBM, UBS, and the FBI. When he’s not in front of a screen he’s probably out trail-running.

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