Smart lighting might be cool and funky for some smart home owners, but for others it is already old and boring. That’s how fast the technology moves
For those who want something with a little more epic, enter Nanoleaf, a system that takes the lights off the ceiling or lamps and puts them on the wall, makes them interactive and ideal for a designer property.
The star of the show is the Nanoleaf Aurora, available in a pack of nine triangular panels with suitable connectors that means you can arrange them in a strip, a pyramid or other pattern to create the perfect statement in a room.
Colors can strobe, roll gently from panel to panel, to create a most
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Key Features of the Nanoleaf
- LED Panel Specs: The LED panels offer RGB and White control settings so can form any series of colors you like, all controlled by a smartphone app, Siri voice control or through a physical panel controller. Each panel weighs 210 grammes, and is 24cm across each edge.
- Easy to Mount: The lights come with mounting strips stencil kits and tape, so there’s no drilling required, and when you get bored, you can create a new shape or light form. You can have them arranged vertically on a narrow section of wall or across to make a feature of a wall. If nine isn’t enough, simply buy another pack and keep on adding to create wall art pieces or glowing light sculptures.
- Plenty of Color Variety: With 16 millions colors on offer and a range of whites from pure white to twilight hues, you can tweak the design to personalize a wall, space or make a statement for a party or event. The app can let you create custom scenes and color palettes, for animations or rolling schemes. You can go pastel for a relaxing evening, pulsing waves for a party or flashing red when there’s a trigger or event you need to be aware of.
- Attractive Pricing: At $199 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here), the Nanoleaf Aurora isn’t especially costly and can certainly add a fun or style aspect to a wall. The creativity option makes it so much interesting than a plain light bulb, and the ability to reuse it in different rooms or for different events, gives it even greater value. If you need more panels, they come in packs of three for around $70 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) with up to 30 panels supported by a single power supply.
Pros of the Nanoleaf
When not in operation, the Nanoleaf looks pretty harmless, just a collection of white plastic triangles. They connect together through little connected double-sided tabs that help them remember sequences and settings data.
These make for hassle-free installation, and the pre-set animations mean you just need to plug it in and let it run for instant impact, before you start messing about with the smartphone app.
The connector unit links to your WiFi, so you can activate the lights through the iOS or Android app.
If you have enough units, you can create all manner of lightscapes from mountain ranges in a child’s bedroom to funky displays in the hall to welcome guests to a party. Brightness ranges from subtle to landing-light bright and can really illuminate an area.
The app can be used to create different themes for different rooms, and uses WYSIWYG design with animated panels to help you create a unique
“You can adjust brightness on the app and edit designs as and when needed.”
When you’re all set up, you can stick the panels to your wall through the provided double-sided sticky tabs, these are easy enough to add and remove, so you are not committed to one display. Once up and running, you can use the app or Siri to control the show.
Another bonus is that the converter in the unit’s power brick is universal, so you can take this with you around the world, or send the unit as a present to relatives on different continent. It is good to see a smart home company thinking global instead of limiting its product to a single market.
The LED lights are sturdy and robust, connect well and use 3M Command strips which are pretty good at sticking to most surfaces. They are rated for 25,000 hours of use, and come with a one-year warranty. Each uses 2 watts, for a total of 60 watts power consumption if you put 30 LEDs together.
Cons of the Nanoleaf
Perhaps the main risk of the Nanoleaf is of them becoming addictive, and homeowners adding more and more panels to create more impressive pieces of art.
While you can have up to 30 LEDs per controller, there is nothing to stop people plugging in multiple controllers and stacking collages of color and form next to each other.
While the company has promised Alexa, IFTTT support and DMX for pro-lighting control, these features are scheduled for 2017, so that might but a few users off buying them immediately. Amazon Echo support is dated to arrive in January, but there’s no time frame of the other updates.
The Final Light
Nanoleaf is brilliant concept, easy to put together like a kid’s train set. While the pre-set lighting patterns are pretty impressive, the term “living paint” has been applied to the product and you can see why.
You can create a design and then fill it with your choice of color, and then cycle through patterns as subtle as those on a butterfly or as garish as those at a disco to create any sort of effect.
Ideal for anyone who really wants to make a creative statement in their home, the Nanoleaf system allows anyone to create broad brush strokes on their wall in a truly impressive style.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!