The lightbulb has evolved dramatically since Thomas Edison first demonstrated his newfangled incandescent in 1879. The ability to simply cast a little light with the flip of switch may have been an adequate selling point in the pre-incandescent “dark” ages, but nowadays we want more than a basic guiding light.
With the advent of LEDs, design enthusiasts are making lighting into something of an art form that’s actually accessible to homeowners. And connectivity lets many of them perform all kinds of helpful tricks, like alerting you of incoming calls, which is useful for those of us who suffer from phantom vibration syndrome (it’s a thing). From levitating lamps, to devices with built-in digital assistants capable of ordering takeout on our behalf, here are 12 of our favorite lamps on the market.
The Heng Balance is one of the more original lamps we’ve seen in recent years. “Heng” means “balance” in Chinese, and the overall design was inspired by traditional round fans and window frames. A series of lights run along the inside rim, and unlike most lamps, there’s actually no switch on the Heng Balance. Instead, the unit uses two balls with embedded magnets, which attract one another and activate the lamp once close enough.
Like the Heng, the Lightest lamp also uses magnets. However, the Lightest’s magnetic base and lamp repel one another, enabling the lamp stand to levitate just above the base. You can even 3D print your own lampshades for even further customization.
Lumio is a versatile lamp that’s capable of dishing out a little light at home and on the go. The lamp is designed to resemble a hardcover book, and as such, the interior “pages” fan out a full 360 degrees. Magnets along the exterior also allow you to mount Lumio onto virtually any magnetic surface. Needless to say, if visionary and Lumio-owner, DJ Khaled, is any bellwether of technological integration, the units should be selling like hotcakes in no time. #MajorKey
GE has designed the C to work in tandem with an array of compatible smart home appliances. The LED table lamp uses Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, allowing you to order takeout, preheat the oven, and even listen to the latest news. As the smart home market continues to grow in the coming years, we can only expect to see more products like C in the future.
The Pretty Smart Lamp
The Pretty Smart Lamp lives up to its name. The web-like device can help you track down your phone and connect to other smart home devices. Its light sensor automatically adjusts brightness based on your surroundings, and features 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 glowing crystal sitting on your bedside table — who are you?! — there are other options.
Flyte Levitating Lightbulb
More lightbulb than lamp, the Flyte is a wirelessly-powered light that floats in the air as if by magic. In reality, however, this is due to magnetic levitation. The contactless light draws power from the wooden block that sits directly beneath the device. Inside the snazzy wooden base, electromagnets attract the bulb’s base, while slightly stronger magnets repel, making the bulb hover in air. Point being: David Blaine has nothing on the Flyte.