Canadian startup looks to reinvent lightbulb with colour-changing panels
Published Tuesday, October 4, 2016 10:22PM EDT
A Toronto-based clean-tech startup is redefining the lightbulb with wall-mounted, colour-changing LED panels you can control with your smartphone.
It’s called the Nanoleaf Aurora, and it looks like the sort of thing you’d find pulsing on the wall of a nightclub -- or a space station.
“The way that we think about lighting is still so old fashioned,” CEO Gimmy Chu told CTV Toronto. “(This is) sort of like Lego for lights.”
A $199 starter kit consists of nine energy efficient triangular panels that can snap together in any configuration you can imagine on your walls or ceiling. Once they are set up, users can set the mood for the big game with team colours, or fill their living space with a light sequence that simulates a gentle sunrise.
The panels are attached with double-sided tape, leaving you more time to browse the virtually infinite combinations of colours and patterns. The company’s website boasts “as many colours as there are people in New York City.”
“This is kind of the future. It’s a different way of seeing light,” said Chu.
Nanoleaf’s latest bulbs and panels connect to your home’s Wi-Fi, so they can be controlled with a smartphone using voice controls and platforms like Apple HomeKit.
The mesmerizing colourful displays have received high praise from those able to get their hands on a prototype version. The Museum of Modern Arts Design Store in New York currently has one on display.
Nanoleaf is best known for rethinking lightbulbs to reduce their energy consumption. The company’s smart energy-efficient bulb technology has received $2.9-million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada, the federal government’s foundation for funding clean-tech startups.
The company is the brainchild of three University of Toronto students who met while working on the school’s solar-car team. Today it’s grown to employ more than 30 people.
Pre-orders for the Aurora have already sold out, but the company’s website promises more will be available to ship to customers in early November.
The company says the product is for indoor use only, but encourages those who shirk the rules and install them outside to let them know how it turns out.
One can’t help but imagine the potential for holiday lighting displays.
“So far, we haven’t seen anything on the market like this,” said Chu.
With a report from CTV’s John Vennavally-Rao