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Philips Ethernet-Powered Lighting Transmits Data To Mobile Devices Via Light

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the build-it-now-figure-out-why-later dept.

Network 104

llebeel writes Philips has shown off its Ethernet-powered connected lighting, which can transmit data to mobile devices through light via embedded code. Arriving in the form of LED "luminaires," Philips' connected office lighting will aim to not only save businesses money on energy costs, but also serve as a means of providing information and data about the general running of a building, transmitted through light, to improve the overall efficiency of business infrastructure. Philips' Onno Willemse said, "Over the light, we can project a code — its number, its IP address, its MAC address — making each fixture unique and recognizable. We can also receive that light on our mobile phones, so if you hold the lens of a mobile device under the luminaire, it actually reads the code and makes a connection to it over WiFi."

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Attention hot women of Slashdort! (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 3 months ago | (#47370543)

A large #turd is #trending in my #colon! BRB!

Oh dear god (2)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 3 months ago | (#47370551)

This is surely the rise of the machines! THEY'RE IN THE LIGHTS!!! D:

Re:Oh dear god (3, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47370651)

"Why is it so hot in here? The thermostat must be becoming sentient; Oh God - this is how Maximum Overdrive started!"

-- Sterling Archer

Re:Oh dear god (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47373097)

the could become self aware and control what we see!!!!!

Re:Oh dear god (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 3 months ago | (#47374413)

There are FOUR lights!

Re:Oh dear god (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 3 months ago | (#47374709)

Oh? I have an implicitly cooked egg I'd like to share with you...

1990 called (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 3 months ago | (#47370563)

1990 called. It wants its IR LAN back.

Re:1990 called (3, Interesting)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 3 months ago | (#47370585)

I'll see that and raise you a photophone. [wikipedia.org] ;)

Re:1990 called (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47370683)

Called and raised. [wikipedia.org]

Re:1990 called (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 3 months ago | (#47370927)

Raised again, [wikipedia.org] albeit with a pitiful amount of effort.

Re:1990 called (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#47371095)

If we're discussing distance communication with light, then raised again [wikipedia.org] .

Re:1990 called (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 3 months ago | (#47371129)

Raised yet again. [wikipedia.org] This is why I love Slashdot. The learning never stops. Neither does the illegal gambling.

Re:1990 called (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47371253)

150BC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
Beat that.
Also, the Greeks used mirrors to do stuff on battlefields. But I dont care enough to work out what they called it.

Re:1990 called (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 3 months ago | (#47372515)

150BC http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
Beat that.
Also, the Greeks used mirrors to do stuff on battlefields. But I dont care enough to work out what they called it.

Everything that has eyes, and many things that don't, convey information with the light that bounces off of it.
So, The Universe.

Re:1990 called (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | about 3 months ago | (#47371273)

Raised again [wikipedia.org] .

The initial plan called for a ditch and wall with 80 small gated milecastle fortlets, one placed every Roman mile, holding a few dozen troops each, and pairs of evenly spaced intermediate turrets used for observation and signalling.

And more details on another page: [wikipedia.org]

Each tower was in sight of the next in the line, and a simple system of semaphore signalling was used between them.

Re:1990 called (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 3 months ago | (#47371665)

Raise this ante and double down.

There we go. [lifx.co]

Re:1990 called (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 3 months ago | (#47371773)

This is why I love Slashdot. The learning never stops. Neither does the illegal gambling.

Nor the bad jokes and memes.

Re:1990 called (1)

Jody Bruchon (3404363) | about 3 months ago | (#47371851)

NO U

Re:1990 called (2)

k3vlar (979024) | about 3 months ago | (#47371749)

oblig. http://xkcd.com/875/ [xkcd.com]

Re:1990 called (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47370715)

I remember something like that for Macs, circa 1990-1991 that plugged in the LocalTalk port. You aimed the IR transceiver at a place in the ceiling, made sure to aim the other ones in approximately the same area, and the device did the rest at doing the L1 communication with the LAN.

It would be nice if Philips had some form of useful encryption built in on the media layer. Even a shared secret would be better than nothing.

Re:1990 called (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 3 months ago | (#47370745)

Electric Imp's light programming patent (blink up) might shit all over this idea.

Re:1990 called (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | about 3 months ago | (#47370761)

The '90s didn't have indoor position tracking, like Philips seem to say they have.

I'm into this. Maybe. Depending on the resolution of the positional data. If the luminary is also a coded aperture projector then with compressed sensing techniques the obtained resolution could be very high indeed in both time and space.

If that's not what they're doing, give me money and I'll get it done. :p

Re:1990 called (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | about 3 months ago | (#47370777)

1990 called. It wants its IR LAN back.

Oh cool... I have an old Nokia which supports IRDA.

Re:1990 called (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 3 months ago | (#47371155)

Oh cool... I have an old Nokia which supports IRDA.

I've had 2 HP calculators -- and a printer to go with them -- the supported IRDA. I think I still have the printer.

Some phones still do. Or do again, not sure which. At least the transmission half. I know that at least some, if not all, of those phones with built-in infrared remote-control capability also support IRDA.

Re:1990 called (1)

CBravo (35450) | about 3 months ago | (#47374259)

I have a Sony-Ericsson k550i and it has irda...

Better than you, Stick your head in doo doo (1)

ememisya (1548255) | about 3 months ago | (#47371721)

Lol I did this via QRCode videos, a bit outdated this thought, but it does remind me of the torches from the Lord of the Rings movie :) http://slashdot.org/firehose.p... [slashdot.org] French Mirror: http://www.clubic.com/insolite... [clubic.com] Russian Mirror: http://www.imena.ua/blog/datai... [imena.ua]

Re:1990 called (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47376387)

1990 called. It wants its IR LAN back.

And you didn't warn them about 9/11?
You sicken me

Well, this sounds brilliant... (2)

gweilo8888 (921799) | about 3 months ago | (#47370591)

...if you're a lighting manufacturer wanting to lock customers into your products. What, pray tell, is the *real*-world advantage for the customers, though? Because I'm struggling to see anything this provides which couldn't be done better using a different technique.

Yet another Slashvertisement for a pointless invention.

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#47370627)

...if you're a lighting manufacturer wanting to lock customers into your products. What, pray tell, is the *real*-world advantage for the customers, though? Because I'm struggling to see anything this provides which couldn't be done better using a different technique.

It might suck to need a different app for each manufacturers' lights, but that's all this is going to end up being. But being able to perform on-the-spot diagnosis using your cellphone is actually pretty cool. In theory, you could do this sort of thing with ye olde Flash using the camera control, and have it be platform-agnostic. Less so than in the past, perhaps :)

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47370663)

We've discovered enough technology to manage the whole developed world comfortably and have everyone working not more than 3 days a week.

But that wouldn't keep the idiot leeches at the top in power?

SO WE MUST SELL YOU MORE SHIT YOU DON'T NEED.

Capitalism gives us great technological progress (so does Stalinism - see '30s-'40s USSR), but it does not ease our burden.

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47370813)

>...if you're a lighting manufacturer wanting to lock customers into your products.

That's the typical cynicism that has so many slashderpsters disconnected from reality by their own bitterness and paranoia. All the lighting manufacturers ALREADY use different apps, but there is no lock on the free apps, no downside to this feature.


>What, pray tell, is the *real*-world advantage for the customers, though?
>Because I'm struggling to see anything this provides which couldn't be done better using a different technique.

As explained in the summary, if you actually bothered to read it before posting your derp, it allows the app to easily identify a particular lightbulb so you can set the channel on the control software. It's much simpler than having to unplug and replug the light to sync up like with the MiLight bulbs I use. You seem to be pretty angry, and not very bright.

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (1)

ChadL (880878) | about 3 months ago | (#47370939)

The use I can think of is the ability of office workers to change the color (presuming these are similar to their Hue bulbs) and brightness of the lights over their cubes (as they could use their smartphones to identify said lights and connect to them without going through some central system) or in their offices rather then being stuck under florescent lights or with the same color/brightness for everyone that the office management decided on using.
Not a really great use, but its better then no use. I'd expect most offices would nix the idea of having assorted light colors throughout the cube farm as being unclean and disable the feature, leaving no use for all but some of the offices.

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 3 months ago | (#47372611)

While it probably wouldn't catch on in the vast majority of places, I could see a few smaller/newer companies doing that. It'd look pretty damn cool too having all sorts of colors through a cube farm, and make it feel much less like it's actually a cube farm, both for the workers and visitors.

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (4, Interesting)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 3 months ago | (#47371013)

OK.
1) Everybody and there dog has a wireless product, so the spectrum is getting pretty darn crowded. No interference from RF!
2) RF signals easily pass right through your walls where people can capture and examine them. More secure...even adds some obscurity to the mix (for now)
3) Some people claim to be sensitive to RF emissions. They will probably complain about this as well. However, less RF emissions in your workplace.
4) Can route around blockage -- metal walls, etc., -- that might affect RF.
5) Could be more cost effective than wifi, especially for a large building or hotel. Don't know yet.

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 3 months ago | (#47371423)

The advantage to the customer, I don't know. But it seems like a massive data leak waiting to happen. It would not seem difficult to transmit corporate information, in a way that the APP would just ignore, but so that someone standing outside of window could capture. Definitely, at this point, movie plot threat, but something to consider.

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about 3 months ago | (#47374719)

but so that someone standing outside of window could capture

You mean like someone in a Google data-collection car?

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47373519)

Researchers are getting gigabit speed in the shade and faster with direct line of sight. I don't know what sort of speed can be reliably achieved with multiple inputs and outputs but it's looking like finished products are going to be much faster than consumer WiFi at a similar cost.

Re:Well, this sounds brilliant... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47373945)

It could be used for indoor location and navigation. A huge emerging market, actually.

Not pointless. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 3 months ago | (#47374649)

You would only see this as pointless if you considered a light to be a light. In many cases, especially commercial installations they are so much more. Intelligent office lighting that is activated by a central authority, PE cell, or motion detection all the same time like in many commercial buildings are a real outright pain in the arse to configure. If there were some simple way to communicate with and configure one single light it would be a godsend.

One of the industrial control system vendors we deal with solved the same problem (clusterfuck of control units being outright impossible to manage centrally) using a similar method, IR communication. Each controller has an IR port. Now if one is dead or needs a firmware update you don't need to scroll through a massive hierarchy and pray that you actually connect to the right controller first go, you just go up and hold your device up to the IR port and it gives you all of it's details so you can be 100% sure you're talking to the right one.

In the computer world I don't think this is very different from the little blinking light on the front of rack mounted servers that helps locate the one you're logged into.

PWM (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47370607)

Peppered with PWM to give you a headache? Well, the frequency is probably so high that it won't be an issue, but I still prefer my room lighting LEDs with pure DC.

Re:PWM (3, Interesting)

thebigmacd (545973) | about 3 months ago | (#47370887)

Your "pure" DC likely isn't. DC power supplies for LEDs are generally switch-mode, and thus use PWM/PFM for voltage modulation.

Re:PWM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371643)

Not to mention running white LEDs on DC below rated current generally results in pretty nasty white point shifts, the phosphor output drops off faster than the emitter.

Re:PWM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47372029)

I'll grant you that LED power supplies are normally switch-mode, but they're not modulating voltage insofar as they're constant current devices (the voltage and current that the LEDs see is generally constant)

What is old is new again (2)

djupedal (584558) | about 3 months ago | (#47370631)

30 years ago we proved you could video-capture 9600-baud modem lamp pulses to transfer/sniff data using light. This is just a variation on that practice.

Re:What is old is new again (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 months ago | (#47370703)

I thought that modem thing was an urban legend. Even if the RX/TX LEDs would represent actual bits on the line, wouldn't you still need a super-high-FPS camera?

Re:What is old is new again (1)

six (1673) | about 3 months ago | (#47371005)

You'd only need a super high fps device that detects on/off state of the light, which I guess would be a lot easier and cheaper than a real camera.

Re:What is old is new again (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 months ago | (#47371159)

So a photodiode. You would probably have to mount it very close to the LED though.

Re:What is old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371807)

Or throw some optics on it.
A $0.05 photodiode and a loupe lens in a cardboard tube are good for 30m+.
Doesn't really need to be perfectly focused, even works on diffuse reflections off nearby objects or walls.
Only one caveat, this only works for half duplex.

Re:What is old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47372353)

You could do active filtering and gain adjustment the way normal IR receivers for remotes do it - you didn't think they were just bare photodiodes, did you?

Re:What is old is new again (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47371025)

An NTSC video camera records ~480 scan lines every 1/30 second. So, a full scan line would represent about 1 bit at 14400 bps. If you recorded a de-focused LED, so it was recorded full frame, you'd get the bits if the sensor were fast enough (i.e. didn't integrate over the time between scans). If rx/tx were different colors, you could probably get both at once. It should be relatively easy to decode, but you'd be missing some bits during vertical retrace.

Re:What is old is new again (0)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 months ago | (#47371185)

if the sensor were fast enough

Mm, there's your problem.

Re:What is old is new again (1)

msauve (701917) | about 3 months ago | (#47371419)

Want to elaborate? Like with some facts and not just a blanket dismissal?

It's been done [applied-math.org] using a PIN photo-diode. I make no claim that it could be done with a 20 year old consumer camcorder, but there were pro cameras with 1/20,000 shutter speeds available. Whether that applied on a frame or pixel basis, I don't know, so I'm not willing to dismiss the possibility out of hand, as you do. It's believable to me that there were commercially available cameras capable of doing it.

Re:What is old is new again (1)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47371995)

Since rs-232 could easily power LEDs, the cheapest way to implement the RX and TX lights was to connect them to the actual serial lines. Use a photodiode rather than a camera and you're all set.

And, it was actually demonstrated.

Re:What is old is new again (2)

schlachter (862210) | about 3 months ago | (#47370851)

200 yrs ago we proved electric cars were viable (http://inventors.about.com/od/estartinventions/a/History-Of-Electric-Vehicles.htm)
2000 yrs ago we proved steam engines worked (http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-technology/ancient-invention-steam-engine-hero-alexandria-001467)

This doesn't diminish the significance of it as a useful product.

Aw man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47370647)

So imagine the use case: you enter the office, you throw your phone on the table, it locks in with the light [and] it knows exactly which room you are in and then lets you control the room," Willemse explained. "Then you go to another room, you put your phone there it synchronises through and then you can control the meeting room, too, for example, so the indoor location is anonymously organised as it recognises your device."

It's just to control the lights and whatnot?

I thought this was a substitute to Wi-Fi. You know, the packets come over blinking LED lights.

Then again, that may lead to eye strain and seizures.

Health Concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47370709)

And cue the people who will complain about their perceived harm from rapid flickering lights.

Re:Health Concerns (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 months ago | (#47371275)

Don't underestimate the issue. LEDs are problematic because they have no afterglow unlike fluorescents and incandescents.

I personally get a scorching eye strain and headache from the 220Hz PWM that small laptops use these days. Large laptops (15.6" and larger) I am fine with -- they seem to almost always use a high-frequency (tens of kilohertz) carrier wave or, true "analog" current control to the backlight.

Of course this Philips light communication system will likely use quite high modulation frequency anyway, just to cram in enough data in the signal.

Re:Health Concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371951)

LEDs are problematic because they have no afterglow unlike fluorescents and incandescents.

Normal LEDs used for lighting have a significant afterglow, because they're blue LEDs shining on a yellow fluorescent coating. However, you're right about the rest. I'm surprised people can be bothered by 220HZ. Most people stop noticing flicker at ~90Hz, unless they wave something. Still, that's not too much higher. People who claim to notice flicker at 9KHz are nuts. Anyway, you can adjust the PWM rate on many laptops. Turn it up too much and you get whining, but 700Hz seems to be pretty popular.

Re:Health Concerns (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47373223)

Rumor has it Philips is also producing a gluten-free version, so that should appease some of these folks.

Cool! (4, Informative)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 3 months ago | (#47370815)

"802.11e" - "e" for epilepsy.

Re:Cool! (0)

jones_supa (887896) | about 3 months ago | (#47371287)

:D

IPv6 (2)

johnrpenner (40054) | about 3 months ago | (#47370873)

if every lightbulb is going to have an IP address — they better be using IPv6.. ;-]

2cents
j

Re:IPv6 (1)

ChadL (880878) | about 3 months ago | (#47371053)

These are embedded devices so they would need to be on a firewalled off network (presumably allowing access from the byod wifi to allow control from selected smartphones) anyway to keep them from being internet-hackable, as they aren't likely going to get patches for security and protection from disgruntled employees who have the lights ips/keys already.
That being the case, there is little reason to use public IP's for them at all (since the entire range would have to be completely firewalled off, so using fe* or 10.* IP's doesn't really matter all that much and allows for somewhat easier auditing of the security situation.

Re:IPv6 (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 3 months ago | (#47371093)

I have to wonder why they need an IP address at all, a MAC address would suffice if you are always on the same LAN (which you would be if you're under the lamp). I wonder when we'll need to go to 128-bit MAC addresses.

Re:IPv6 (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#47371359)

An autoconfig ipv6 address is the mac with some static bits shoved on.

128 bit mac's are fairly useless nothing should else have a broadcast domain that large. 64 Bit would seem to be the next step as that allows full use of the ipv6 default subnet of 64 bits

Re:IPv6 (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 3 months ago | (#47372103)

An autoconfig ipv6 address is the mac with some static bits shoved on.

Not anymore. Practically everyone implements the privacy extensions, and most do not generate a MAC-based IPv6 address at all.

Re:IPv6 (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#47375277)

I've yet to see an embedded device implement privacy extensions. Human facing computers sure.

IPv6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371843)

They wouldn't be able to buy enough IPV4 addresses anymore.

Re:IPv6 (2)

sjames (1099) | about 3 months ago | (#47372043)

Nah, they'll just NAT the NATTED NAT and run it all through NAT.

Re:IPv6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47375931)

How about IPv60hz

Options (2)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 3 months ago | (#47371071)

It would have been interesting to see the light itself powered using PoE and have it forward the LAN traffic optically. Presumably the LED itself can cycle on and off and be a receiver during the off period, or be coupled with a separate optical receiver for the return path. I see that now IT security needs to be more involved with the lighting management !

Re:Options (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371589)

That's what nuLED does.

http://www.nuleds.com/

PoE for Lighting (1)

robstout (2873439) | about 3 months ago | (#47371153)

I'm not that excited about the IP information being sent by the lights. Kind of cool, but I think it's an application waiting for a use. Using Power over Ethernet for the lights themselves is pretty damn cool. Easier to set up lights (you only need a CAT5 cable, instead of electircal cabling, etc), and, assuming your switch has a good enough UPS on it, you can have lighting that will stay up during a power outage.

Re:PoE for Lighting (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 3 months ago | (#47371585)

Seems easier to run mains or even a dedicated 12v line for the LEDs. PoE goes up to 25W I believe, good for 3/4 brightish LEDs, while a single mains cable will power hundreds.

Re:PoE for Lighting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371695)

Hmmm. POE can supply 25 watts, so you'd need a home run for each light fixture back to a powered hub.
However, Romex 14/2 is rated at 1440 W continuous load, so you can daisy chain a bunch of fixtures and save on wire length.

Cat5 is 8.5 cents a foot, 14/2 is 23 cents a foot, or about 3X more.

So if you need less than 3X as much wire you might be in the ballpark, assuming Plus low voltage wiring contractor tend to costs less than electricians.

Also in a lot of office plenum installs, you need to you armored cable or run conduit. Cat5 might not need that, so the savings could be even sooner...

Resistance losses (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 3 months ago | (#47371913)

Wasting power to run LEDs in a goofy way, negating some of the benefit of using LEDs. (vs florescent which they only just caught up with and still have a greater total cost last time I looked into it.) The electronics pulling power from ethernet also come with losses... thing is an office building is going to multiply it much more than a household.

CAT5 isn't the way to run low Volt power distances. Using your typical 14G wire is going to lose power over 12V as well, but not as much. Yes, I realize the total losses per year amount a few bucks for a whole house lighting system that is on 24/7 but since I never did the math vs those incredibly tiny ethernet wires I can't say how much you are losing... other than I remember the resistance loss involved dividing by the cross sectional area, so the larger the area the smaller the losses. 22G is a really tiny wire vs 14G or 12G. When I figured it, the 12G wasn't worth the extra money, so maybe almost 10G in difference doesn't amount to much... One can get 2 wire 14G pretty cheaply (I fail to see why code would require 3 wire for this) and I wouldn't run cat5 at this point...

For new wiring, probably it is best to aim for the max DC of 48V and wire up the LEDS to run at 48V so then you can use thinner copper. All this being said, peak copper is about 7 years away so the goal is going to be using less copper... power losses are not going to be significant compared to construction cost... I'd still just run cheap small gauge wire than ethernet which needs special parts to extract the power; despite it being nice using the network cable... cat 6-7 type uses are likely not going to like all the noise these devices introduce anyway.

Re:Resistance losses (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 3 months ago | (#47373907)

PoE, the standards complying versions at least, 802.3af (IIRC), do run at 48V. As it is about the highest you can go with shit insulation and not be required to meet real safety standards, while at the same time battling I2R losses with get brutal on long runs with low voltages.

I agree though, unless a room only has one 20W lamp, CAT5 isn't the way to be powering it...

If we want to save copper, we should do what we do now. Wire houses with 220V, and switch down at the load.

Good idea! (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about 3 months ago | (#47373975)

I just assumed the post was correct about 12V-- 48V makes far more sense especially given US code limits DC to 48V (or 50V I forget; either way I still think it is as lousy as their solar panel V caps... 6V will kill you under the proper conditions.) otherwise, the standard might have gone higher.

Good idea about 220V but US stuff is 120V; I suppose one could wire up the house and use cheap plug adapters all over the place. We can do 240V, which I do have wired in a few places but that takes another wire! It's not like EU 220V.

Way too entrenched to ever change; best we can hope for are new DC standards and solar electrical regulation changes. Maybe after 50 years when most everything is running DC they can start to shift the grid to modern high voltage DC grid. That is assuming the USA isn't too far into 3rd world status by that time.

How about no? (2)

GenaTrius (3644889) | about 3 months ago | (#47371165)

Lights should illuminate things. Refrigerators should refrigerate things. Stoves should heat things, air conditioners should cool your air to a certain temperature, and coffee makers should make you coffee. They don't really need to do anything else. They don't all need Twitter accounts. I don't want my workplaces' lights to talk to my cell phone and tell some server somewhere where I was and what I was doing. That is a.) creepy and b.) almost certainly pointless.

Re:How about no? (1)

doconnor (134648) | about 3 months ago | (#47371469)

How is an air conditioner supposed to know what temperature you want it to be without an Internet connection?

Re:How about no? (1)

Anubis350 (772791) | about 3 months ago | (#47371697)

I think you're joking, because for a consumer that's not necessary, but when you have, say, whole office buildings with centrally controlled zoned heating and cooling they may not need *internet* but they damn well do need some some of sensor and control network. And once you have that making it at least monitorable over the internet can have some real benefits.

Re:How about no? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47372411)

But...but...they've finally solved that age-old problem: how do you tell if a light bulb is burned out?!

Now all you have to do is hold your phone up to the fixture, check an app, and voila! You too can tell if you're in the dark or not!

Re:How about no? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 3 months ago | (#47373587)

Q. How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb.
A. None, we don't do hardware!

Re:How about no? (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 3 months ago | (#47374015)

Q: How many hardware engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: None. We tell the software engineers to patch around it.

Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371217)

God, we live in a society where we can't even provide a sensible standard of living for the majority of our population, our education system is stuffed, our banking system is stuffed, here in the UK (and NZ where I'm from) we seem unable to build houses anymore unless they are overpriced shoeboxes, but hey we can put ten different sensors in a lightbulb!

I became an engineer because we used to do stuff that improved the lot of humanity.

What happened?

Re:Sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47373239)

What happened?

You tell us. What have you engineered, lately? Let the Philips guys work on lights, you improve the lot of humanity. Please check in soon and let us know what you've done.

Great (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371229)

Now I have to worry about buying cheap LED lightbulbs from China trying to root my devices.

Re:Great (2)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 3 months ago | (#47371735)

Or anything that can see light through the office window.

Impressive but (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371295)

Call me when the token ring version is ready.

Hey hackers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47371715)

The potential for mischief in a needlessly networked set-up is endless. Make lights strobe when someone enters the room or all the time. Reverse motion detection so lights go out whenever someone enters the room. Make lights flash out in morse code "Help! I'm being held hostage in a lighting fixture factory!".

quote of the day: "the running of a building" (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 3 months ago | (#47371899)

Another quote, one that wants a fix:

Philips' Onno Willemse said, "Over the light, we can project a code — its number, its IP address, its MAC address
"Philips' Onno Willemse said, "Over the light, we can receive a code — its number, its IP address, its MAC address"

Fixed that for 'ya.

Innovation or lack there of? (1)

ficuscr (1585141) | about 3 months ago | (#47372425)

Stick to what you know I suppose. Maybe next we will see Bose illustrate how data can be transferred by sound waves...

"Ethernet-powered" lighting? (1)

ColoradoAuthor (682295) | about 3 months ago | (#47372709)

Sure, PoE can transmit 36 W (if all eight connectors are used), but lighting a whole office that way? That's one incredibly efficient luminaire!

Re:"Ethernet-powered" lighting? (1)

tapi0 (2805569) | about 3 months ago | (#47373007)

PoE lighting is 'a thing' and many companies provide such sytems for offices (see, for example, http://www.nuleds.com/ [nuleds.com] ) why do you think it so far fetched?

Everything old is new again,,, (2)

aklinux (1318095) | about 3 months ago | (#47372721)

This idea was being bounced around back in the 80's. Wouldn't be surprised if someone with a good collection of Byte Magazine from back then could find mention of it.

Honey, can you... (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | about 3 months ago | (#47372957)

- Honey, can't you turn the strobing 100W lights down while we watch this romantic movie?

- No-can-do, that would kill the Netflix stream

My evil plan (2)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 3 months ago | (#47373787)

Hemisphere-wide communication by strobing The Sun!! Mwahahahahaha...

Of course, the latency sucks (9 min both ways) but I'm working on it.

'Scuse me, I'm off to Kickstarter...

So morse code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47374911)

no?

Re:So morse code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47377421)

whoops

Re:So morse code? (1)

vedant_lath (905577) | about 3 months ago | (#47377435)

no

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