Sony’s new ‘Multifunctional Light’ lets you yell at your family from the ceiling

Sony’s marketing team must’ve been exhausted when they gathered around the conference table to brainstorm a name for its new smart light.

Instead of coming up with something catchy, funny, or downright clever, it went instead with “Multifunctional Light.” Because it’s a multifunctional light.

But even then, this may be considered by some as a misnomer, as this particular product isn’t just multifunctional, it’s really multifunctional – beyond what most clear-minded people would surely expect with a light fixture.

Stick the Frisbee-like device on your ceiling and the thing’s ready to take over your life, or at least your home. First off, it does the obvious stuff, connecting to your smartphone so you can control its brightness in a few taps from the comfort of your sofa. You can also program it so it’ll come on at specific times, handy as a security device if you’re away on vacation or simply for the comfort of arriving back at night to a lit home.

OK, so what else does Sony’s Multifunctional Light do, exactly? Well, it comes packed with sensors that can, for example, monitor temperature, so if it’s too cold, it’ll communicate with your heating system to get the place toasty. The light also activates the air conditioner if it detects high levels of humidity, while another sensor, this time for motion, means the light can turn on your TV when it detects you’re in the room.

Heck, it even has a memory card slot (the jury’s still out on what exactly it’s for), as well as a speaker and microphone. The Multifunctional Light’s promo video (above) appears to show mom calling home and addressing her children through the light’s built-in speaker, an act that in reality will probably freak most kids out the first time it happens. Imagine – “Daddy, Daddy, Mommy’s in the light!”

Of course, the built-in speaker means it can also play music, while the microphone, well, couldn’t it be used to listen in to others’ conversations?

Sony’s all-singing, all-dancing, and all-functioning Multifunctional Light hits the Japanese market in the first half of this year, after which the company may send it beyond its shores. Possibly with a different name.

Emerging Tech

Meet the MIT scientist who’s growing semi-sentient cyborg houseplants

Elowan is a cybernetic plant that can respond to its surroundings. Tethered by a few wires and silver electrodes, the plant-robot hybrid can move in response to bioelectrochemical signals that reflect the plant’s light demands.

Camera crop factor: What it means and how to use it

If you're in the market for a new camera, chances are you've heard the term "crop factor" thrown about. Here's what you need to know about how crop factor effects everything from equivalent focal length to light sensitivity and depth of…
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.

Get electronics gifts for high-tech homes for under $100 with these deals

The holiday season is in full swing with Christmas just around the corner. New deals on interesting, fun, and practical electronic gifts under $100 from major online retailers can convert last-minute shoppers to savvy bargain hunters.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.

Canary home security company sued over $10 monitoring fee

A class-action lawsuit claims home security startup Canary offered free monitoring features to entice people to purchase their cameras, then started charging a monthly fee to continue using them.
Smart Home

Find good gift ideas with these small kitchen appliance deals on Amazon

Small kitchen appliances are favorite holiday gifts to give and to receive and that doesn't only mean an Instant Pot. We found excellent deals on Amazon for blenders and espresso makers plus a highly rated sous vide machine.
Smart Home

Never crawl under the tree again! Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree lights

Did you know you can make your Christmas tree smart, just like many of the other electronics and gadgets in your home? You can even create routines involving your tree. Here’s how to make a smart Christmas tree this holiday season.
Smart Home

LG will announce partnerships at CES to help give you a smart kitchen

LG is announcing a number of partnerships that will help make kitchen appliances even smarter. It is working with Drop, the makers of Kitchen OS, to create a unified kitchen experience that will make cooking easy.
Smart Home

Starbucks teams with Uber Eats for delivery from 2,000 of its U.S. stores

Starbucks has teamed up with Uber Eats to offer customers deliveries from almost a quarter of its stores in the U.S. The major expansion launches early next year, making life even easier for fans of the coffee giant.

Amazon Fire Deals: Tablets, TVs, and TV controllers in stock and ready to ship

Last-minute shoppers, and anyone seeking good deals on Amazon Fire products, are in luck. There's still time to order Fire Tablets, Fire TVs, and Fire media players, Fire CVRs, and Alexa-voice-compatible Fire remotes for Christmas delivery.