Automated lights are pretty sweet, but unless you’ve got them rigged up to a bunch of other sensors, your range of control options is generally somewhat limited. Most connected lighting systems merely offer the option to flip lights on or off on a recurring schedule, so if you want to sync them to the natural rise/fall of sun to maximize efficiency, you’ve got to fiddle with them quite a bit.
Light Sentry, an upcoming product that launched this week on Kickstarter, offers a solution to this problem. It’s essentially a simplified, easy-to-install light sensor that can detect outside light conditions and use them to activate, deactivate, or adjust the brightness of your lights. And the best part? You don’t need smart bulbs in order for it to work. The system works with your existing light bulbs, and smartens them up with just a few easy-t0-install components.
The system is comprised of the following: a natural light sensor that’s mounted outside (or on a skylight), an indoor hub that syncs with your computer and receives information from the natural light sensor, and a number of switches and plugs that can be activated by the hub. The benefit of this design is that, unlike other systems that pull sunrise and sunset data from the web, Light Sentry pulls light data from your local area. This way it’s always in sync, and can dynamically adjust to changing weather conditions that might make it lighter or darker at different points in the day.
The full kit containing a sensor, hub, and three switches or outlets will retail for around $390 when if/when it hits the market in early 2015, but if you back the project now on Kickstarter you can lock it down for around $295. It’s definitely not as capable as a full-fledged home automation setup, and the fact that it doesn’t work with any of the major home automation protocols like ZigBee or Z-Wave is definitely a downside, but considering the relatively low pricetag and simple installation, Light Sentry might not be a half bad option for anyone simply looking to make their lights a bit more intelligent.
Find out more here.