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Product snapshot: LIFX Wi-Fi home LED light-bulb

LED light-bulbs are the Next Big Thing. Compared to all current lighting technologies, they're superior in nearly every way. They're far more energy efficient than incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent globes, while being able to output light that's nearly as pleasant as a good ol' fashioned Edison bulb. Remember when you didn't have to wait for your lights to warm up and stop flickering?

There are a couple of companies throwing their weight behind LED lighting -- IKEA has a range of LED globes in its stores, for example. Philips has some LED globes too. Every few months, a new globe that's brighter, more efficient, and better-looking comes out. We can't wait until LED lighting is cheap and popular.

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But what's more exciting than the LED light-bulb revolution is the Wi-Fi LED light-bulb revolution. Philips has the Hue, which looks amazing, but we're more interested in a product being worked on by a team of guys from Melbourne...

The LIFX is a LED light-bulb which began its life as a Kickstarter project. The guys from LIFX Labs have a grand idea for the globe: Wi-Fi-enabled, multi-coloured, long-lived, and low-powered. The design we're showing here is the latest one, and it's nearly completely finalised.

The idea is this: unscrew your old light-globe, screw in the LIFX. That's it. All you need to do is load up the accompanying LIFX app on your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, on your home's Wi-Fi network, and the rest takes care of itself -- you'll be able to adjust the globes' colour temperature (individually or as a group), set automatic timers for on and off, start an auto-dimming sleep mode, or even match the pulsing of your lights to the beat of your music.

Your light switches will still work, of course -- you'll just be able to control everything with your smartphone as well. One of the huge advantages of LED globes is their long life-span; LIFX is saying future buyers should expect 40,000 hours (that's 25 years straight) of usage. The RGB lamps LIFX is using are equivalent to a 60 Watt incandescent globe.

LIFX has three different standard fittings coming out for its globes -- E27 Edison, B22 Bayonet, and GU10 downlight fittings mean you should be able to fit LIFX globes into anything larger than a desk lamp.

The LIFX Kickstarter, which closed a couple of months ago, has nearly 10,000 backers -- these are people who are on-board and waiting for their LIFX globes to be developed, produced, and shipped to them. You can visit LIFX's website to join the pre-order queue, although an exact date for general availability isn't certain just yet.

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