A 1984 tribute to Flashdance called It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown has Snoopy donning a sweatband and busting moves on a dance floor that strobes in different colors in time to the music. It’s magical, and my house looks a bit like it now, only it’s due to the unique panels on my wall that light up. The Nanoleaf Aurora is a newly designed lighting system consisting of flat plastic triangles that snap together to form different shapes. The company recently introduced the Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm, a $50 add-on that uses a microphone or 3.5-mm jack to sync sound and light.
As long as you already have a $200 Aurora kit, you can turn it into a music visualizer with the Rhythm. It slots into any panel, and looks like three linked triangles. It’s about 2.5 inches tall and three inches at the base, so it might mar the aesthetic of your Aurora’s overall shape a bit.
When you open the Aurora app, you’ll find eight pre-set rhythm options: fireworks, meteor shower, paint splatter, pulse pop beats, rhythmic northern lights, ripple, sound bar, and streaking notes. They all make use of a rainbow of colors and each of course lights up in different ways. The majority stay dark until they pick up sound, but the last three will stay illuminated even without music playing. Sometimes there’s a barely perceptible delay between the sound and the illumination.
If you want to customize these, you’re mainly limited to changing the color and brightness. You can pick your palette of hues and assign them to each panel, and then choose one of the rhythm effects above. Ripple is a bit frenetic, but by going from dim to bright and jumping from panel to panel, it lives up to its name. Fireworks pops bright colors to various panels that then slowly fade. Sound bar lights up everything in a solid color then uses other colors to indicate changes in volume and frequency. That was a fun one to try while watching a Billy on the Street video. Aurora Rhythm: It’s not just for music!
Indeed, the Rhythm picks up all kinds of sound: you talking to your cat, your neighbor drilling into a shared wall, a sneeze. Microphones always raise privacy concerns, of course, and Nanoleaf told Digital Trends the Rhythm is listening but not transmitting the sound around your home. To turn off the device, you hit the change-scene button on the Aurora’s control panel. This will turn off the microphone as well, so if the Rhythm’s blue light is off, you know it’s not listening.
The Rhythm is a fun if not completely necessary addition, but Nanoleaf seems to be pushing for adoption: It’s selling it as part of a nine-panel kit for $230, effectively knocking $20 off the module’s regular price.