We’re all trying to be greener, mostly because being green saves us a lot of cash. But there are always more places to find efficiency… like a light switch that doesn’t consume any power.
Why Your Lightswitch Costs You Money
It seems to be a bit counter-intuitive, at first; how does a light switch, a thing that communicates power, burn electricity? Think of it as a form of water tap: The power is always there, it just won’t flow to the light until you throw the switch. But that doesn’t mean the water isn’t sitting there, waiting to flow. Similarly, lightswitches can be surprisingly dangerous. This is where NXP comes in.
The Wireless Lightswitch
Essentially, their lightswitch doesn’t have any wires and doesn’t need to be connected to any power source to work. Flipping the switch creates just enough energy to send a signal to a fancy new wireless LED bulb.
This has a huge number of advantages, some of which may not be immediately obvious. The biggest one is that it takes the switch out of the wiring system, meaning switches can be more easily relocated, and that you don’t have to tie any wires to a switch embedded in the wall. It also means that you save a little bit of power, and that all your electricity can go towards lighting, making your home that much more efficient.
Sadly, uses for this are a bit limited, for now; they’ll only work with “wireless” lightbulbs like the Hue, and a few other brands you’ll find at Home Depot and the like. On the other hand, it does open the door to a future where we can save more energy and have a home that’s more configurable, and if nothing else, it’s a smart idea that others can use to cut down on costs. It’ll be available later this year.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.