Lighting
m!Qbe controls lighting with a roll of the die

The Premise. The downside to upgrading a home’s lighting system to something more advanced than a simple on/off switch is learning how to make use of the new control panel that comes with it. Adding functionality without overcomplicating things is a constant struggle for any design.

The Product. While it may look like a children’s toy from the future, the m!Qbe is really a lighting control system designed to make the most of modern lighting and its features. By programming different settings into the faces of the cube, changing light distribution, color, and brightness is as simple as setting a different side of the m!Qbe face up. Certain faces are also motion-enabled, allowing users to twist the cube to adjust colors or dim lights, and indecisive owners can even shake the cube to randomly generate a lighting option. The m!Qbe is open-source, allowing designers to develop applications for the device beyond lighting.

The Pitch. Positioned in the video as a solution that even the designers’ grandma can use, the m!Qbe product demonstration is equal parts simple and confusing at first. Once it becomes clear that users design their own preferences to the different symbols on the faces of the cube, making use of the device proves to be that much easier. The flexibility of the luminaires is on display with the variety of options shown in the video that can be changed on the fly with a simple roll of the m!Qbe. m!Qbe designers Blue Asterisk UG want €120,000 to finish streamlining the device and moving into the testing and production phases.

The Perks. An m!Qbe control is available for pledges of €125, available in October 2014. Add-ons are plentiful, with wi-fi for an extra €15, an extra charger for €25, and an extra base for the luminaires for €95. The complete set can be shipped out for those that contribute €235, with higher tiers including more components.

The Potential. The m!Qbe is very modern in its design, turning a complicated light panel into a simple handheld cube. While it’s open-platform design makes it flexible to tackle any kind of appliance or home ambience system, a simple app could do the same thing. The m!Qbe is a home novelty at best, something that could be replaced by a more intuitive system.