Nanoleaf’s smart bulbs have geek cred inside and out

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c|net  November 2, 20215

Nanoleaf

Nanoleaf's 3D-printed, jigsaw-assembled LEDs flip things inside out and put the light-emitting diodes on the outside of the bulb. They're unlike anything else on the market, they're unabashedly nerdy, and -- to my tastes -- they look darned cool. Now, Nanoleaf's jumping in with Apple HomeKit and debuting a new, connected version of its funky-looking light.

The new bulb is called the Nanoleaf Ivy, and you'll get two of them along with a hub to control them for $100 -- or $80, if you catch the early-bird pricing on Indiegogo. Like the rest of Nanoleaf's bulbs, the LEDs are available in multiple voltages and with a variety of screw-in and bayonet bases, so you'll be able to use them just about anywhere in the world (that $100 price tag converts roughly to £65/AU$140 -- the $80 discounted price comes out to £50/AU$110.)

The Ivy LEDs communicate using built-in ZigBee radios, a common standard for connected lighting products that's also used by Philips Hue and by generic standalone smart bulbs like the GE Link LED and the Cree Connected LED. Nanoleaf says that you'll be able to add third-party bulbs like those to your Nanoleaf Hub -- or add your Nanoleaf Ivy LEDs to a different ZigBee-speaking hub, like the Philips Hue Bridge.

Like the newest version of that Philips Hue Bridge, the Nanoleaf Hub packs in support for Apple HomeKit, the set of smart home control protocols built into iPhones and iPads running the latest versions of Apple's iOS mobile operating software. With HomeKit support, you'll be able to control the bulbs seamlessly alongside other HomeKit-compatible products.

Related:  Gimmy Chu, CEO, Nanoleaf Speaks at 2015 Canadian Crowdfunding Summit

More notably, you'll be able to control the lights using Siri, Apple's voice-activated AI assistant. The controls are the same HomeKit standards found with other Apple-friendly smart lights: turning lights on and off, dimming them up and down, or launching pre-programmed "scenes" that control multiple bulbs at once. Those scenes can involve other HomeKit gadgets, too -- asking Siri to run a "goodnight" scene could turn off your Nanoleaf bulbs and lock your front door, for instance.

The bulbs themselves promise the same 800 lumens of brightness that you'd expect from a 60-watt incandescent while drawing only 7.5 watts. That's pretty terrific as far as efficiency is concerned -- both the Cree Connected and GE Link LEDs use about 11 watts to put out the same amount of light. A few other smart options have gotten that number below 10 watts, but none of them go as low as 7.5.

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