How many people does it take to change a light bulb? Well if you buy Stack’s Alba light bulbs, not as many people as you think, as you’ll be changing the lights in your house less frequently. The company Stack was founded by ex-Tesla engineer Neil Joseph and ex-NASA engineer Jovi Gacusan, and now they’ve produced a light bulb that’s smarter than you and me.
Alba, meaning ‘sunrise’ in Italian, is a bulb “designed to work autonomously, both by adjusting light output based on sunlight and by learning and adapting to its owners’ household habits”, according to Wired. More than just a gimmick, the bulb has sensors for occupancy, motion, and ambient lighting; this means the light bulb can tell how many people are in the room, whether they are moving around, how much ambient light is already present in the room and it adjusts its light output accordingly. I know that sounds quite creepy and potentially dystopian, but this results in a bulb that can use 60-80 percent less energy than a standard LED bulb.
Its other main function is to understand the owner’s preferences and tailor light output in accordance with their preferences and habits at home. “If we notice that people are in a certain part of the house, at certain times of day, and then they mosey on over to a bedroom, and then they spend more time awake in the bedroom before they go to bed we can start to light a pathway,” Joseph says. Using the Stack app on your smartphone, you can create custom lighting profiles (‘nap-time’, ‘dinner-party’, ‘sexy-time’ etc.) and the Alba bulb will incorporate this data into its algorithms and basic function.
With a starter kit including two bulbs priced at $150, it’s cheaper than its competitors like the Philips Hue or LIFX; although it’s still a hundred-and-fifty-freaking dollars for two light bulbs. We can only expect the price to fall in the coming years for smart and sustainable household appliances, but in the meantime, they might be better off targeting the rich-hippie market.