Smart LED light bulbs, or LEDs that can be connected and controlled by a smart phone, are not exactly new, so Philips’ take on the technology with their new Hue series didn’t exactly turn heads. Still, it’s worth looking up how they perform. 

MNN's Matt Hickman recently described how he has converted most of his home to LED lighting. I didn't have any fancy plumen bulbs in mine, so as part of my renovation, I got rid of every incandescent and compact fluorescent in my entire house. Inexpensive LED bulbs like the Cree that Matt used and the flat, funny-looking flat Philips bulbs that I used in some ways work like the old fluorescents did; they had ionized mercury vapor-emitting ultraviolet light, which excited a phosphor coating to glow white.

That's what's happening in the white LEDs as well, but without the mercury. Instead, the LED emits the light that excites the phosphor. It's not perfect; the phosphors are mixed and tuned to be as close as possible to the incandescent light we all love, but the color rendering index (CRI) is not quite there. For most uses, these phosphor-converted (PC) LEDs are just fine; many have a CRI of over 90 while incandescents are 100.

However I wanted to try something really special over our dining room table. I had just purchased a classic triple bubble lamp, which was designed by George Nelson in the early 1950s but is still in production. Philips sells a starter pack of three of its Hue smart bulbs and a controller, so it seemed like a good idea to try it out. 

The full story at MNN.


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