One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.
This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.
What’s behind the door for Day 4? It’s bright and shiny. It even changes colors whenever you want it to. It’s the Philips Hue smart LED lightbulb.
Check this video out – it’s a developer who’s used a Siri development plugin to control his Phillips Hue IP-controllable light bulbs. While the video is short, the guy who did it, Brandon Evans, has posted the code and instructions needed to make it happen on your own iPad, assuming you know what he’s talking about.
Evan has this to say about the project:
The Philips Hue hardware was first intriguing to me because they explicitly mention that it’s a ZigBee certified product on the packaging and labels. ZigBee is a wireless technology that is different from WiFi in a few important ways: Low power, equivalent range and intended for light data mesh networks. It’s popular with DIY hardware makers (think Arduinos) for this reason, as well as that it’s much cheaper than WiFi modules. It seems like it may be the wireless standards of choice for consumer home automation systems that are coming to market. As an example, the Nest thermostat was also found to have ZigBee hardware inside, although it isn’t supported in software yet. Because of all this I wanted to see exactly what hardware Philips was using, and if it would be possible to replicate the Hue system.
Looks like a great first step to using off-the-shelf technology to control home systems. Bravo, Mr. Evans!