Philips is invested, in a big way, in the idea that you want to control your lightbulbs with your phone. And they’re willing to back that belief with some serious technology, not to mention some artwork straight out of a 3D printer.
Specifically, Philips is showing off some “luminaries” it’s created for its lighting system, the Philips Hue. You might remember that the Hue is essentially a LED lightbulb with WiFi and some fancy gimmicks that enable you to tweak the tone of your light, play with the timing, and some other fun stuff that generally marks them as entertaining, if a little silly.
But how to get people to admire your fancy new lights? With a pile of spaghetti!
Illuminated And Entertained
OK, so actually, it’s plastic. Philips worked with some major design firms to create these “luminaries”, which are essentially accessories for your lights. 3D printing comes in because engineering these and putting them out there would essentially be impossible without the technology; the luminaries are too complex and delicate to manufacture any other way. The idea is that you place them over your Hue and then shift the colors and brightness to create different styles and effects. In other words, instant art, just add fancy lightbulbs!
Choosing the Right Hue
It doesn’t appear that these will be coming to your local store just yet, but you will be able to buy them; they’ll be available starting tomorrow directly from Philips, and will be on display at a few home shows both to show off Hue and to show there’s more to the technology than just being goofy with your smartphone. And, hey, if nothing else, it’s good to encourage more design and 3D printing with home goods. Just be sure you want the bulbs, first.
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.