I love my Philips Hue smart-lighting kit, but every time I’ve just randomly turned my living-room lights different colors in front of another person, they’ve asked the same question:
“How much did you pay for this?”
And then I just kind of mumble something because while the system has added convenience and versatility to my apartment, I’m still not super comfortable admitting that I plan on paying $60 for a light bulb. Instead, I just say, “It was for work,” and leave it.
But Qube, a new smart-lighting system that launches in April, wants to avoid that kind of awkwardness with bulbs that cost way less than its competitors but offer just as many opportunities for just the weirdest ambience you can design.
In fact, Qube‘s main selling point is its lower price point. Its campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo is all about how affordable it is, and so is the press release announcing the product. And that’s cool, I guess, because it is pretty cheap. The Wi-Fi enabled bulbs, which Qube says will work on their own without a Philips Hue-style hub, will retail for $19 each.
That’s still pretty expensive for a light bulb; don’t get me wrong. But it’s better.
All of this talk about money takes away from Qube’s weirdest purported function, however. The bulbs connect to your home router, but they also use Bluetooth to track you via “nearby smart Bluetooth Low-Energy wearables” like the slightly creepy GPS SmartSole. That means that the bulbs could potentially know which room you’re in and turn on and off automatically. “In fact, with Qube’s ability to track people or items within the home, you can also use this feature to find any lost BLE devices by lighting up the bulb closest to it,” the press release says. And that’s cool, I suppose, but I still like operating my Hues with my voice so that I can pretend I’m a character on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Plus it’s way less surveillance-y.
Qube launches in April, and it’s looking for $50,000 from Indiegogo. As of this writing, it has raised $21,558 with a full month remaining, so it’s probably gonna make it.