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LIFX: The light bulb reinvented

An excerpt from an ad for LIFX, a WiFi enabled, multi-colour, energy efficient LED light bulb that you control with your iPhone or Android.

PT1M7S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-263t6 620 349

An Australian entrepreneur has developed a reimagined light bulb that can last for 25 years and be controlled by smartphone - and in two days he's raised more than $600,000 on crowd-funding website Kickstarter to make it come to life.

Phil Bosua of Ferny Creek in Melbourne, 38, a father of two, is the creator of LIFX, a Wi-Fi enabled, multi-colour, energy efficient LED light-bulb that you can control with your iPhone or Android smartphone.

LIFX can not only be turned on and off using a smartphone, but can also have its colour and brightness changed. It can also be programmed to be turned on at certain times and can even be set to match the beat of a song, as well as react to notifications on a smartphone like those from Twitter and Facebook and flash a certain colour.

Phil Bosua.

Phil Bosua, inventor and co-founder of LIFX.

Speaking with Fairfax Media from New York, where Bosua is “learning how entrepreneurship works in America”, he said the idea to re-invent the light-bulb came to him about six months ago when a friend relayed a frustration to him concerning renovating.

“Basically a friend of mine was sort of saying that they wished that they could have a wireless [light-bulb] switch in their home because they were renovating and didn't want to cut up their brick wall to run a wire down it,” Bosua said. “And he basically asked me [what I could do about it], because he sort of knew that I was the inventive type.

“I said, 'Well, actually, I think there's something in that. I think it would be possible to connect your smartphone to your lights. [And] it really just grew from that.”'

LIFX allows you match your lighting with your mood.

LIFX allows you to match your lighting with your mood.

He said LIFX light-bulbs can last up to 25 years and used up to 50 to 80 per cent less energy than light-bulbs currently used by many households and said this was one of the reasons why he wanted to get his project off the ground, as he thought that current light-bulbs “didn't represent the smart culture of our day and our eco-aware sensibilities”.

But he never expected the project, which began as a weekend hobby, to reach more than $500,000 on its second day of crowd-funding, surpassing the $100,000 goal he set on it (just over $500,000 was pledged this morning and by this afternoon it had reached $600,000). The minimum pledge, which more than 900 backers have chosen, costs $US69 and gets the backers one LIFX light-bulb, which includes shipping to Australia, Canada or the US.

“Wow. That was my first reaction,” Bosua said when seeing how much had been pledged by the more than 3900 backers on the Kickstarter website as of this morning.

You can also visualise your music using LIFX.

You can also visualise your music using LIFX.

“I'm glad that this project resonated with people as much as it resonated with me,” he said.

As well as working on his project to re-invent the light-bulb, which now has six co-founders, Bosua runs a successful iPhone and iPad app-making business called LimeMouse and is also working on a project called RefreshHQ to make brand's Facebook feeds more engaging. He's also been involved in two other Kickstarter projects, one of which raised $184,499 earlier this year to build a portable scanning box that uses a smartphone's camera to take high-quality scans.

He said one of the most successful apps he had developed through LimeMouse was a Gray's Anatomy e-book designed for people like medical students or others interested in the human body.

twitter This reporter is on Facebook: /bengrubb