LIFX is an Australia based startup that is planning to ship WiFi enabled lightbulbs later this year. The lightbulb can be controlled by a smartphone app. Founded by CEO Phil Bosua, LIFX placed the idea of building a better lightbulb on Kickstarter in September 2012. They raised $1,314,542 even though their goal was to hit $100,000.
LIFX is planning to ship an initial batch of lightbulbs in Q3 2013 according to co-founder and chief technology officer Daniel May. LIFX’s on-bulb firmware systems use Thingsquare’s open source Mist system. May said that the Kickstarter campaign helped them build a community and said that was quite motivating.
“We have samples for certification and we’re having beta bulbs going out to select users,” stated May. “We’re gearing up for full-scale production in the coming months, so it’s very much the pointy end of things.”
The LIFX bulbs have a computer system that can connect to standard 802.11n Wi-Fi networks and they can communicate with each other through the low-power 802.15.4 networking standard. The hue and brightness can be controlled by a smartphone application. There will be an SDK that allows third party developers to build more applications to control the behavior of individual bulbs or a group of bulbs.
The LIFX bulbs are not the only “smart” lightbulbs on the market. The “Hue” system in Australia is being sold at Apple stores. However, LIFX’s system does not rely on a separate “bridge” device being connected to a WiFi router like the Hue.
Below is a video of how it works: