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Update: Emberlight, the socket that turns any light into a smart light, is now on Kickstarter

clever socket adapter makes light smart screen shot 2014 06 02 at 11 am
Update: Starting today, Emberlight is available for preorder on Kickstarter. Early bird backers can lock down one socket for $49, two for $89, or three for $139. Barring any unforeseen roadblocks, the company expects to ship the first production models to backers as early as February 2015.

Having smartphone-based remote control over every bulb in your house is certainly an enticing prospect, but as soon as you lay eyes on the price tag of a single smart bulb, it’s easy to get turned off. Even some of the cheapest ones will put you back 40 or 50 bucks apiece, and if you’ve got lots of light fixtures in your house, the cost of installing them can get out of hand in a hurry.

But not to worry, this clever little adapter called Emberlight is here to save your wallet. It’s not quite a full-on smart light — it’s actually only half of one, which is convenient, since you’ve probably already got plenty of bulbs in your house. So, instead of replacing all those dumb bulbs with expensive “smart” ones, Emberlight adapters allow you to retrofit your lights with network-connected brains, giving them all the smart features you’ve ever wanted, but at a fraction of the cost.

These adapters work with practically any type of bulb you’ve got — LEDs, CFLs, halogens, and even the oldschool incandescents you might still have in your sockets. Once installed, just fire up the accompanying Emberlight app, sync the sockets, and you’re ready to go. Not only will you be able to control your lights from anywhere in the world via your mobile device, but the app also gives you a number of other features that other smart lights don’t have.

Along with all the requisite presets and scheduling functions we’ve come to expect from smart bulbs, Emberlight also has the ability to sense when you’re in a given room. By tracking the location of your phone, the lights can tell when you leave (or return to) the house, and can be programmed to turn on/off accordingly. You actually don’t even have to program it if you’d prefer not to. Over time, Emberlight will begin to learn your preferences and automatically activate them without any outside input.

Unfortunately, at this point in time there’s no word on when these sockets will be available for purchase, or exactly how much they’ll cost when that day comes. That being said, however, the company’s website does suggest that when Emberlights hit the market, they’ll cost “less than the price of a dinner out.” We’ll keep you posted on availability, but until we have more details, you can find out more here.

This article was originally published on June 2, 2014 under the title “This clever socket adapter make any light a smart light”

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