Lighting Smart Home

BeON deterrent lighting system allows you to be on alert 24/7

Home security has seen a resurgence in the past few years thanks to how easy it has become to install and use smartphone and tablet-based systems. As such, the ubiquity of low-cost hardware and Bluetooth connectivity along with smart devices have made home monitoring a largely automated experience that relies on video and motion sensing to set off alarms. As effective as these approaches are, most companies have forgotten that deterrence is the first line of defense in protecting the home, an idea the BeON burglary deterrent system is based on.

The one thing common to every household is the humble lightbulb, maybe a little bit too humble. The BeON system takes lightbulbs to task injecting them with smarts that allow a combination of Bluetooth LE, microphone, sound processor, and rechargeable battery to protect your home. The BeON bulbs installs like standard bulbs and simulate a full home when users are gone by learning lighting habits over time. Constantly shifting lights give off the impression of an occupied, so burglars will think twice before trying to break in. Doorbells also activate the lights when users aren’t in, making it seem like someone is stirring within.

Its four-hour backup battery inside allow its lighting and security features to work through a power outage and that, along with its 20 year battery life, ensures a user’s peace of mind. The companion iOS and Android app will also let users enable Away mode, set lighting patterns, or teach BeON to hear their doorbell, all while still softly lighting a home with 60W of power. A three pack of BeON lightbulbs goes for $229 and is expected to ship in April 2015. The campaign is looking for $100,000 to make it happen.

A connected lightbulb isn’t anything new, but the BeON does far more than others like the AirBulb or even Philips Hue. Its modular nature will eventually allow users to add on functionality, which extends its utility. That said, it is pretty wasteful to randomly turn on lights but that won’t be a convincing point for those who treasure their security.


Home Kids/Babies Safety

Toddler Safety Electrical Plugs play hide and seek from little fingers

It seems like baby-proofing the house is one of those tasks that is really never done – kind of like parenting. And for whatever reason, toddlers seem to be especially fascinated by electrical outlets. Toddler Safety Electrical Plugs is kind of an out of sight, out of mind gadget that hides the electrical outlet from small fingers, but still allows mom or dad to easily access it when it is needed. Initial installation may be somewhat inconvenient, since it involves using a screwdriver and removing the existing faceplate, but after that, the product is touted as offering one-hand operation convenience.

There is actually a wide variety of outlet covers out there with child safety in mind. This particular product seems to have a similar design as the KidCo Outlet Plug Cover. One of the more popular covers among parents is Munchkin because they are extremely easy to use and inexpensive.  Backers with toddlers may also want to check out the PopSwitch and Bright Switch campaigns. This campaign seeks to raise $5,000, however may have trouble doing so as it is offering no reward tiers.

Lighting Music

LumaPlay Speakers do the wooing for you with fly beats and soft lighting

LumaPlayTo set the mood, it’s necessary to combine sound and good lighting for that special someone. Now you can control both with one easy product: LumaPlay Speakers. These speakers allow you to play HD music as well as control light shows from your smartphone. The LED lights can change color and always go along with the beat of the song. For $399, backers can enjoy these decked out speakers. For diehard music and lighting fans, these speakers may just be the way to go, if you’re willing to spend the money. LumaPlay hopes to raise $75,000 on Kickstarter.

Lighting Smart Home

Emberlight makes smart lighting simple

emberlightControlling lights with a smartphone or tablet is a great entry point into creating an energy-saving smart home. Unfortunately, the setups can be complicated to install or have a high price barrier. Emberlight is designed to be a simple, intuitive access point for creating a smart lighting system, simply by screwing the device into any light fixture and installing a dimmable bulb. Immediately, multiple presets can be used and the Bluetooth Low Energy features allow lights to turn on upon entering a room, and off while leaving. Outfitting a whole home with Emberlights may be a little expensive, but the energy saving costs and simplicity will make up for that initial hit. Emberlight can brighten any home for $49 in February 2015.

Cell Phone Accessories

cPulse phone case shines some light on whatever you’re up to

cpulseIt’s common sense to put smartphones in cases to prevent any damage to the device if dropped or worse. But why don’t cases do more than just protect? cPulse is a new smart LED lighting case for Android phones that offers a variety of functions using 128 LEDs that will sync up to music, function as a powerfully vivid alarm clock, or display unique visual notifications for incoming calls or messages. The wide variety of options available in terms of apps and features make cPulse an interesting option for those with customization in mind, but the added drain on a device’s battery may not be worth some added visual flair. cPulse lights up the market in February 2015 for $89.


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.


Ion is the 21st century lava lamp

ionOne thing that makes any music better, especially at a party, is appropriate lighting. With Bluetooth Low Energy connectivity, a multitude of templates and options, and even a comprehensive pattern editor, Ion is essentially the high-tech reboot of the lava lamp. With 40 tri-color LEDs and audio sensors that respond to music or even just phone notifications, Ion can provide an interactive light show for any occasion. Ingeniously, the developers of Ion have set up a Web site where users can try out these options and get a feel for what the light is capable of. Once hooked and ready to get their hands on the real deal, backers can get the party started with an Ion for $199, shipped in August.


Lightcase backdrop brings a pro look to small item photos

lightcaseFrom eBay to Etsy, people are making money by selling small or unique items,. But when sellers have a whole catalog to choose from, taking quality, consistent photos can be challenging. Similar in concept to the Foldio, the Lightcase is a fold-out housing that can be used to take quality, well-lit pictures from above or in front, and then can be folded down into something size of a sheet of paper. Using frosted polypropylene, the Light Case takes natural light and diffuses it evenly, resulting in a sharp, clear photo. The hole at the top of the Lightcase is lined up with a smartphone camera so the phone can lay flat and take the picture with stability. Online sellers and everyone else can get a Lightcase in June 2014 for $36.

Lighting Smart Home

The Back-Off: Reinventing the light switch

Welcome to The Back-Off, where Backerjack contributors weigh in on two or more products being crowdfunded concurrently.

What. Smart lighting is becoming a regular craze in the smart home community. What is already out on the market doesn’t always do the job right, and so those who want to simplify their home through technology have a couple new options to consider. Both Bluegic and iOn have a new take on changing the most basic electric necessity of any home.

Why. Bluegic’s solution to home lighting is similar to some other crowdfunding projects, using Bluetooth as a way to control lighting even while away from home, using a mobile device to set timers as well as turn on and off lights. The inclusion of a push-button light switch alternative is also a unique personal touch of the Bluegic system. iOn on the other hand is more like traditional light-switches in the sense that one has to be in proximity to the switch itself to control it, but is anything but traditional beyond that. Using a capacitive field, iOn panels can be installed behind art, behind walls, and can be completely out of sight. Users then make a motion within that field, or place a capacitive item in the field that can be touched to turn lights on or off. Bluegic switches range from $54 to $69 depending on how many buttons are on the switch, iOn switches start at $40 a piece.

When. Both projects were launched on March 25th and have the same funding goal of $100,000, but Bluegic’s campaign is running 45 days instead of iOn’s 30. Bluegic also plans to ship in June, while iOn switches won’t reach backers until August.

Winner. In terms of what they offer, the Bluegic system is more flexible, but other options are out there that do the same thing. iOn is a much more refreshing take on the modernization of home lighting, and while it certainly could have its faults in terms of accidentally tripping the lights, would be more cost effective to put into a home and not require any other devices. iOn gets the edge here for its innovation and cost.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

Ember takes low-light iPhone photos beyond the flash

The Premise. According to a 2013 study, 23% of all smartphone users take at least one photo a day with their phone’s camera. While the result is more visual media than ever and the meteoric rise of the “selfie,” the ever-popular camera doesn’t always provide best results. Every new generation of phone promises more and more megapixels, but what about lighting? What will it take to get more than a basic flash?

The Product. Enter the Ember, an iPhone accessory that naturally attaches to the contours of the iPhone 5 and 5s, providing warm light that makes photos pop and stand out. The Ember makes the phone’s back panel a 56 LED light source with an independent power source that lasts for up to 4 hours of continuous light. Because it’s independently powered, the Ember can even be removed and held in a different position to provide my dynamic staging to any otherwise low-light photography. Color and diffusion filters are available that can be slid in and out of the housing without any fuss. Additionally, the top of the device can be removed to support any peripheral lenses.

The Pitch. With a video that calls out to the heart of every Instagram addict and selfie genius, the Ember introduces itself as a fully capable addition to any 5-series iPhone. What really makes the strongest point however, are side-by-side comparisons of night photos taken with the built-in iPhone flash versus the Ember. The colors are warmer, the details more natural, and the overall aesthetic is much more pleasing. Naturally, Instagram is among the social networks that Ember is present on. Creator Jedd Goble needs $30,000 to make his dream of well-lit mobile photography a reality. At this time the only stretch goal available is that at $50,000, Ember will be fully funded for large-scale production.

The Perks. Getting an Ember in choice of white or black, with tripod adapter and warming filter, takes a pledge of $59. The Pro Package at $99 will include additional colored filters.

The Potential. While a bit big and ungainly, the accessory perfectly complements the modern Bohemian market that Apple has worked so hard to cultivate. Attaching an Ember makes any iPhone scream business in the front, fashion shoot in the back. The features of the Ember stand out against its competitors and are well-designed to appeal to the finicky perfectionism of professional photographers while being simple enough for the late-night party crowd. The Ember might not be for everyone, but people who always have their phone out taking pictures for social media will definitely want to pick one up.