Thursday, 29 October 2015

Top 8 in Smart Lighting

From mood adjusting to music playing and even an alarm, lighting is getting more and more smarter and here are 8 of the best smart lighting technology available now. Besides the fact they are super cool, they also save you a lot of money and last longer than your regular incandescent light. technologies 

Philips Hue 

Philips Hue allows you to control your lighting system at home, by connecting your Lightbulbs bulbs to your smartphone. All you need to do is download the app and your up and running. 

It gives you full control of the brightness, colour and timing - meaning you can now schedule your light to come on as you approach your house or change moods just before you smuggle up in bed. The long range connection also allows you to be miles away and still be in control of your lighting system. The careful production of the Philips Hue makes it a sensible, technical and an overall great addition to your home

Elgato Avea

Do not let the the classic look fool you, this light is as smart as they come. From one single device it allows you to control the mood lighting for up to 10 different bulbs. You can also keep it all in one colour or choose from seven different themes. 

Compatible with almost all devices from iPhones to iPads. The 7w LED screwable Light bulb is extremely energy efficient and has class A energy rating. 

It does not stop there, this light can also be an alarm clock that is capable to be set at a chosen time!. The only downside to it is the app, as it looks a tad simple and can also be hard to use for an android 

Osram Lightify range 

Osram introduces you to a lighting technology thats truly innovative and ahead of its time. whether its your garden or your bedroom you can guarantee having a light which adjusted to your moods and requirements. The bundle pack of gardenspot and normal led bulbs also comes with a gateway which acts as a router and connects you to your lighting wherever you may be, no seriously you don't even need to have wifi in your house. This product also has 16million colour (didn't even know there was that much) you can adjust to, and a 2000-6500 range in colour temperature - 2000 being extremely warm to 6500k being daylight. 

One thing i think is extremely cool is how you can take a picture of any object and the light can adjusted to colour of that object!. Having said all of this, lightify technology is definitely dressed to impress. 

Belkin Wemo LED Lighting starter set 

The belkin Wemo is a direct replacment for a 60w incandescent bulb and therefore is not capable of mood changing. You can choose from bayonet cap or a Edison screw each rated at 800 lumens. This is a little less than classic incandescent, but 800 lumens is still a great amount of output and with the added technology it sets it apart from your original incandescent light. The wemo pack acts as bridge between the wifi connection and the bulb.

You can set rules which can control your dimming and when your light turns on and off. you can also include a sleep period just like your tv. 

the app is relatively easy to use and as the Wemo pack acts as a wifi router you don't need to connect it to your router at home. Although the price can seem hefty it stands as a good introduction to smart lighting.


This product is relatively expensive but you get a bulb of very high quality. Similar to the Elgato Avea  multiple colours can be controlled with this light - given you 16 million colour choices!. furthermore, you can control all the light at the same time and set an alarm for yourself. 

the difference with this product is that it can replace a 75w halogen and still last for up to 27 year, an investment worthwhile.

Senled Pulse 

This products has all features of a smart light such as; dimming control. connect it to a bluetooth device, once paired then you can hear your favourite music from a your Lightbulb! This is another slightly expensive product but when you think about it you get two products in one.

1byone Smart LED Bulb 

Similar to the senled pulse above this also contains an LED lightbulb and a bluetooth speaker. however, this product has the ability to change colour while playing music. 

initially there are translation issues with the Chinese app, but once you are able to click on the lamp tab you can control the brightness and colour of the lamp. this contains a lumen light output of 300 which is similar to 20w-30w halogen light, meaning it is not able to light a whole room single handedly. 

the white light is very cold and slightly bullish and does not have the same quality output in comparison to LIFX and HUE. However the idea of having a light evolving, relatively cheap, music playing light bulb is quite tempting. 

Lava BrightSounds  

Having a light which can play music at home is pretty cool but what about if you have that light all the time. Step in the Lava Bright,  its dimmable,  water proof, reachargeable and oh yeah it can also answer one phone calls. Personally I think this is the creme de la creme of speaker/lighting products and one which would be a great addition to your camping kit or even a barbecue in your garden.   

This blog post was adapted from "PCadvisor, 11 best smart lightbulbs 2015/2016: Best smart LED bulbs, smart lighting, mood lighting and speaker bulbs for your UK connected home" , 03/11/15 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Astronauts use Lighting Technology to grow potatoes in space!

Well martian was not a myth after all,  as NASA have announced their latest technology which uses LED Lighting to enable the growth of vegtables in space.  Martian for those who don't know is a film stared by actor matt damon which describes a mans struggle for survival in space.

Matt demon's quest for survival in martian 

Under those harsh natural circumstances an astronaut named Mark Watney (matt damon's character)  created a way in which he can reproduce potatoes. He achieved this by cutting them down to smaller sizes and then increasing the temperature in his survival pod to ensure the right environment is available for growth. The release of the film was prior to the unveiling of water being found in mars,  so he also had to create water to ensure the irrigation of the potatoes.  

survival of the fittest. Matt demon working on his crop in new film Martian

Planet earth is blessed with large amount of water for irrigating the plants and a huge supply of sunlight for keeping the plant healthy. In contrast space doesn't posses great amount of this, meaning most plants will need to be grown indoors. Step up the latest LED grow light system technology from NASA called the veggie developed by orbital technologies. It assist scientist to grow plantation in zero gravity conditions.
This lighting system emits a purple and almost magenta coloured beam that is necessary in stimulating the growth of the plant.  Although the only colours required to grow plants are Red and Blue, green was thrown into the mix in order to neutralise the purple light and make the plant look more edible.

DR Rey Wheeler, leader of advanced life support activities from the Exploration Research and Technology program in Kennedy said " they are probably the most efficient in terms of electrical power conversion. The green LEDs help to enhance the human visual perception of the plants, but they don't put out as much light as the red and blues" 

would you like some lettuce from space?- researchers investigating the growth of plantation in space  

 However if humans were to live in space growing food is not the only problem. Mars averages -80and that is well below freezing point making mars very difficult to live in, but even to say the necessary insulation is equipped on the planet, people will still need to eat and growing some vegetables won't be enough to create a inhabitable environment for humans. Oxygen and water are also necessities which need to be used resourcefully in space. the lack of water means irrigation of plants has to preciece and calculated. NASA funded research for bioserve space technologies, a non profit research centre situated at the university of colorado in order to look at the the connection between the amount of water and leaf rigidity. They found on earth were water is in high supply traditional irrigation gives leaves more water then they actually need . This hypothesis then was further developed by AgriHouse brands as they created sensors to be installed on leaves that determine the amount of water that particular leaf requires.  

The wonders of intelligence and handwork is highlighted beutifully on martian as matt demon has to be both resourcefull and patient in order to survive. Thats enough of me giving the plot away but it goes to show what the human is capable off if his back is against the wall and with further developments technology space does not seem to far away.  

This blog post was adapted from LEDinside "How Astronauts Might be Able to Grow Martian Potatoes with NASA Lighting Technology" 08/06/2015