If the lamps lighting up your life look like something out of Victorians ‘R’ Us, it might be time for an upgrade. With the advent of LEDs, design enthusiasts are making lighting into something of an art form that’s actually accessible to homeowners. Plus, connectivity lets many of them perform all kinds of neat tricks, like alerting you when you have an incoming call (useful for those of us who suffer from phantom vibration syndrome).
Just call it a chameleon. Set the portable ColorUp lamp on your little red wagon, purple people eater, or green dollar bills; squeeze; and the bulb changes color to match whatever its camera picks up. Its balloon shape also makes it kind of fun. Sadly, PEGA Design & Engineering promised we’d see this lamp by the end of 2014, and we’re still waiting.
The Pretty Smart Lamp
The Pretty Smart Lamp lives up to its name: It can help track down your phone and can connect to other smart-home devices. Its light sensor adjusts the lamp based on brightness and has a variety of colors and lighting sequences, for when you’re going through your blue period. It comes in a variety of styles, too, so if you don’t want something that looks like a magical glowing crystal sitting on your bedside table (who are you?!), there are other options.
Flyte Levitating Light Bulb
More light bulb than lamp, the Flyte is a wirelessly powered light that floats in the air as if by magic but in reality due to magnetic levitation. The contactless light draws power from the wooden charger block that sits underneath. Inside the snazzy wooden base, electromagnets attract the bulb’s base, while slightly stronger magnets repel, making the bulb hover in air. David Blaine has nothing on the Flyte.
If you want your whole place to take on a glow, get your hands on these 3D-printed Lace Lamps from French designers Linlin and Pierre-Yves Jaques. A 3D-printed plastic insert around the bulb casts delicate and lovely shadows on the walls whenever you snap on the light. Le sigh. They are très expensive at about $500.
Yeah, the Notti does cool stuff, like changes color based on your phone notifications, syncs with your alarm, and keeps beat to your tunes. But the best part? You can probably fool your friends into thinking that it, with its mountain-peak-like design, is a piece of the Aggro Crag from Nickelodeon’s Guts.
Flat is where it’s at, per the Aerelight from OTI Lumionics. It’s an OLED desk lamp, so it’s made of the same stuff as those TVs we’ve been raving about. Unlike LEDs, OLEDs can roll out flat like a newspaper, and the Aerelight takes full advantage. It’s ultra-slim and should last between 15 and 20 years.
The Filimin was just made for long-distance loves. Touch your lamp when you’re missing your main squeeze, and his or her device will light up with your special color. Your honeybunch responds with their own touch, and you’ll know you’re loved. Light is new kissy face emoji. Even if you’re forever alone and have no one to buy a second one for, the Filimin still looks kinda cool.
While it may not look as snazzy as some of the other lights, the GravityLight is doing something far more important: It’s a gravity-powered lighting system that could provide light to some of the more than 1.1 billion people who live without electricity. Safer and more efficient than something like kerosene, the power generated by a sort of weight-and-pulley system lights up an LED bulb. Even if you don’t want one yourself, you can contribute to the Indiegogo campaign and help set up a local assembly line in Kenya.
Philips Hue Go
Shaped like a bowl and just as portable, the Philips Hue Go can tilt wherever you need a little extra light. Cycle through its millions of colors, get notifications, and recharge it every three hours. It’s real draw is that you can bring it outside to brighten up your backyard barbecue. Plus, since it’s Philips, it syncs up with other smart-home devices.
Available at: Amazon
Lamps aren’t your thing? Zedfy’s Zedcon is a little different: It’s a strip of smart LED lights that you control through your smartphone. There are lots of similar products around, but Zedcon’s draw is that you can change the strip’s colors down to the individual bulb. Imagine if you could choose the configuration of red and green bulbs on your Christmas lights, then change a few to white and blue, and you start to get the idea. Plus, they sync with your music, so dance parties are practically mandatory.