Admit it. Remote light strips are awesome. There is something deeply mesmerizing about elongated light bulbs in a cylinder of precision-engineered glass, but even better than plain old lighting strips are strips that let you to manipulate their patterns with a smartphone. Thankfully, there are more to choose from now than ever. Companies like Zedfy and Luminoodle released their takes on the concept in the past year, and now another, Ilumi, is looking to muscle its way into the burgeoning market with the Smartstrip.
If the name “Ilumi” sounds familiar, that is probably because the Smartstrip is far from the company’s first home-automation rodeo. Ilumi’s perhaps best known for its line of color-changing smart bulbs that, in contrast to products like Philips’ Hue series, rely on Bluetooth to send and receive commands. Now, several successful crowdfunding campaigns later, the company has applied the same technology to the lighting strip, and the result is rather novel.
Ilumi’s Bluetooth-enabled Smartstrip is hardly the sort of off-the-shelf incandescent you might find in your neighborhood corner store. It packs multicolor RGB+W LEDs that emit 1500 lumens, and thanks to a “novel and patent pending” design that “overcomes brightness limitations of white light” experienced by competing LEDs, it can produce hues ranging from “warm white” to “cool white.” The color of each diode can be individually tuned via a companion app for Android and iOS (the same used to control Ilumi’s smart bulbs), and change in tandem with LEDs in up to 49 additional Ilumi strips by leveraging Bluetooth mesh networking. But not to worry if that level of customization is too ambitious for your purposes — you can opt to program a single Smartstrip’s array using the companion app’s preprogrammed “dynamic effects” and “patterns.”
Unusually fine-grain controls are not the Smartstrip’s only headlining feature. Its protective exterior is weather resistant (with an IP-65 rating), and it has adhesive backing for easy mounting to walls, windows, and just about anywhere else you might want to affix it. The Smartstrip packs an internal clock and memory, too, in order to ensure your carefully orchestrated routines never miss a beat.
The Ilumi is making its debut on Kickstarter for $60 (and retail for $90 later this year). It is available in lengths of three feet, six feet, and a “Kickstarter exclusive” of 13 feet, and is scheduled to begin shipping to backers in December.
As impressive as the Smartstrip seems, it lacks more than a few of the features offered by its closest competition. Zedfy’s Zedcon, for example, sports a built-in microphone and music-processing chip that can colorfully reflect the bass of nearby tunes. And Luminoodle’s Power Practical packs a built-in battery (the Ilumi requires a dedicated supply). But given that the Kickstarter price is competitive, and assuming mass production goes according to plan, the Smartstrip may not be a bad option for those looking to dip a toe in home automation.