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The lamps of the future will do more than just glow

Let there be light! And purified air… and noise reduction… and mobility. Who said that the only thing a lamp can do is provide light? Was it Thomas Edison? (I bet you it was Edison.) And while most of us don’t expect much from our home lighting beyond its basic function, these conceptual designs, products in progress, and commercial offerings prove that we have vastly underestimated the capabilities of our light fixtures.

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The Pixel

Do you want a bedside lamp or a new hallway light fixture? Do you want a big, bright light or just a little nightlight glow? The Pixel, submitted to the 2016 Dyson Awards by French designer Antoine Devictor, is the transformer of light fixtures. Devictor said that his design was inspired by light pollution in major cities. He wanted to make a lamp that was flexible in both size and brightness, so that it could be adjusted to fit the needs of any given situation. Pixels are essentially magnetic cubes that can be arranged in a wide variety of formations, allowing the user to customize the amount of light they want in a particular area. The base Pixel contains a switch, while subsequent Pixels light up when they’re attached to the base.

The Smart Security Light

Lights, camera, security! The Kuna does much more than just light your doorway. Equipped with an intercom and a wireless camera, The Kuna lets you see when visitors approach your door and allows you to interact with them through an accompanying mobile app. Kuna, which raised more than $225,000 on Indiegogo last year, also plans to work with electronic door lock companies, so that you can unlock your door from the couch.

The fixture is designed to replace your current wall-mounted lights and can be installed in about 15 minutes. Once connected to your home’s Wi-Fi, the device will send you alerts every time someone approaches your door. It won’t alert you that you’ve arrived home once it learns your patterns, however, which is a plus in our book.

Buy one now from:

Amazon Kuna

The Air Lamp

Whereas the aforementioned Pixel was inspired by light pollution, designer Chengfei Kai’s latest concept draws inspiration from China’s air pollution. This 2016 Dyson Awards entry uses Co2 filters to help minimize air pollution. Though Kai has yet to provide many details about the project, but you can see in the gallery above, regular lamps get a sad emoji, while Air Lamps get a happy one. Can’t argue with that logic.

The Lamp Garden

Plants need light to grow, and lamps provide light. It was only a matter of time before someone put these two together. The award-winning Grasslamp can grow more than 40 varieties of micro-greens, including edible flowers and wheat grass, which can be used for a salad — if you’re so inclined — or as pet food. After all, cats apparently love wheat grass. The Glasslamp doesn’t require any soil either, and you can grow your first set of micro-greens in about five days.

Luna

If everyone had their own personal light assistant, we’d never have to fumble for the bathroom light in the middle of the night or worry about stepping on misplaced, foot-piercing Legos. That’s the scenario American student Elliot Thomas hopes to create with his 2016 Dyson Awards entry, Luna. The globe-like light uses gyroscopic propulsion to move itself across the floor. Users can program the light to change features such as brightness, speed, and the distance from which the ball of light follows you.”Instead of turning a light on or using a flashlight and disturbing others,” writes Thomas, “Luna provides a unique solution for navigating through the home during the night.” Think of it as a portable night light. Just don’t mistake it for a soccer ball.

The Volta Lamp

Are you setting the table for a romantic evening? Or do you need some bright light while studying at the table? The Volta is a suspended ceiling lamp that can easily switch between direct and indirect lighting. The light bar is suspended from two wire loops that serve a dual purpose. Not only do these wires keep the light bar suspended from the ceiling, but they also provide low current electricity to the lamp. The basic design allows the direction of light to be altered with a simple gesture.

The Pretty Smart Lamp

Whether you’re worried about missing your next phone call or text, the Pretty Smart Lamp can help. It provides visual signals for phone calls, emails, text messages, and other alerts from your phone. While that in and of itself is pretty cool, the most interesting aspect of the device is its design. In addition to the lava lamp-like design, the Pretty Smart Lamp comes with a mahogany base that can be used with an array of interchangeable, laser-cut patterns, including a hand, a cloud, and a wormhole. One reason for the Pretty Smart Lamp’s focus on visuals is that it was designed to aid the 50 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss. Everyone, however, will appreciate this device’s ability to locate your phone. When connected to the app, users can tap the lamp three times to receive an alert indicating the location of their phone.

Buy one now from:

Pretty Smart Homes

Deltamorphose

While the Volta Lamp aims to change the mood of a room, the Deltamorphose — a Dyson Award project from students at France’s l’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique — can actually change the noise level. Deltamorphose is equipped with an acoustic sensor that detects the noise level in the room. The structure grows when the room is loud, absorbing more of the sound, and shrinks when the room is quiet. “It is equipped with an acoustic sensor, a circuit board, a motor and pulleys and reacts to the sound intensity,” writes Célia Ferrer, a design student involved with the project. “When the room is quiet, the unit is retracted. On the contrary, when the room becomes noisy, it spreads out little by little. In this way, the noises are partially absorbed by the structure and the resonance decreases.” When the kids are too noisy, you can just point to the lamp to show them proof that their decibel level is too high.