Emberlight connects ordinary light bulbs to a smartphone

August 27, 2014 // By Julien Happich
With over a week to go in its KickStarter crowdfunding campaign, San Francisco startup Emberlight has collected nearly five times its initial $50,000 funding goal for commercializing what the company promises to be the simplest way to convert any ordinary dimmable light bulb into a remotely smartphone-controlled light source.

After eight years spent at Applied Materials developing innovative materials for the smartphone industry, Co-Founder and CEO Atif Noori decided to setup his own company with Silicon Valley veterans, bringing a new solution to the lighting industry. The startup has been prototyping Emberlight for about a year and is readying for manufacture.

Instead of coming up with yet another remotely controllable fully integrated light bulb, such as Philips' Hue LED bulb or the LimitlessLED just name a few examples, Emberlight’s solution comes in the shape of a universal bulb socket itself receiving any type of ordinary dimmable bulb such as Edison screw or Bayonet-based incandescent, halogen, dimmable cold fluorescent lamps or or even dimmable LED bulbs.

The adaptor connects to the home’s WiFi router so it can be remotely controlled through a cloud-based application, via a smartphone app, from far away. But the Emberlight socket is also Bluetooth Low Energy compatible, so as to detect user proximity for simple walk-in scenarios where the lights turn on automatically or follow pre-set lighting scenarios based on time.

The key differentiation from competing solutions is that the Emberlight sockets are versatile and future-proof, hints the company in its Kickstarter campaign, as it turns any installed light bulb into a remotely controlled light source, but it also makes it easy to adopt new light bulb technologies as they come along.

The company also claims energy savings, not based on the bulb technology in use, but based on the fact that in response to a smart grid request, their application could unnoticeably dim lights if the user wanted to allow it.

The company is also planning to develop a remote wall switch that would communicate directly with the sockets over Bluetooth. The so-called Flint Switch will be programmable via the smartphone’s interface so as to give it the right control effects over the Emberlight sockets.