Bright Idea: Wi-Fi Light Socket Connects Bulbs + Mobile Phones

Consumer products are definitely getting more and more connected, with everything from thermostats to car starters being controlled by smartphones. The Spark is a light socket that connects to the internet, letting you control your home’s lights via your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.

Spark is a small device that screws into your light socket. The bulb in turn screws into the Spark. The device connects to your home’s wi-fi network just like another computer. The associated Spark app or website then lets you do a bunch of very cool things with your lights.

The obvious benefit to the system is that you can turn your lights off from work if you forget to do so before you leave in the morning, or turn them on before you get home so you don’t go into a dark home. But the system can also be programmed to gradually light up your bedroom so that you wake naturally, or to flash when you get a new email.

As cool as Spark is, there are, of course, some drawbacks. The light socket itself has to be switched on at the wall in order to allow the app to control it – a detail that will make serial light-turner-offers cringe. It’s also very expensive – at $59 each, most people could pay their entire electric bill for the cost of one or two of these babies.

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See more in Digital Design or under Technology. November, 2012.