LightFreq, a recently-launched Kickstarter project, is the latest entry into this obscure (but growing) category of home appliances. In a nutshell, it’s essentially an app-enabled, color-variable LED lightbulb with a small wireless speaker integrated into its center. So not only does it allow you to control the brightness and color temperature of the lights just like Philips Hue or LIFX, it also lets you wirelessly stream music through it. Using the accompanying app for iOS or Android, you can beam your tunes to up to 50 connected LightFreq speaker bulbs. And because they’re all networked, they automatically sync with each other to ensure music playback doesn’t sound echoey and delayed.
This definitely isn’t the first take on the speaker bulb concept that we’ve ever encountered, but that’s not to say LightFreq doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Thanks to some extra hardware under the hood, these bulbs do more than just play music and change colors. Each bulb is outfitted with a small microphone inside its hull, so in addition to playing music, these things can also act as an intercom system. Using the app, you can select any individual LightFreq bulb in your house and speak through it, or you can speak on all LightFreqs at once — no more shouting upstairs to get ahold of your housemates.
It’s also got some clever software implementations as well, such as a proximity mode that will turn lights on or off when LightFreq bulbs detect that you’re nearby, as well as a nifty “audio follow” mode that moves your tunes with you as you wander around the house. You can even link your social media and email accounts to the bulbs to get special color-coded notifications, so even if you leave your phone sitting somewhere and forget about it, you’ll always know when a new alert comes in.
Sure, products like this probably can’t compare to a dedicated speaker system when it comes to sound quality, but they might do the trick for users who want a simple, uncluttered way to bring music into a room. Since the entire speaker/light assembly is self-contained and powered by a standard light socket, there are no unsightly wires, and the setup process is extremely simple — you just plug in, install the app, and go.
LightFreq has already blasted past its original funding goal on Kickstarter, and still has the better part of a month left in the campaign. If you back the project now, you can lock bulbs down for about 70 bucks a pop, and assuming everything goes as planned, the company expects to ship the first units as early as February 2015. Find out more here.
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