Light bulb moments
When it comes to design classics we couldn't do without, then light bulbs must surely be in the top ten. However most of us take this pretty amazing invention for granted, referring to it as a mere 'utility' - just as we do with running water from a tap or gas from a pipe. Light bulbs are one of those key inventions of modern life that are only properly appreciated when we find ourselves without them - a sudden power cut, a blown bulb or getting caught outdoors in the thick of night for example.
Innovation in the world of light bulbs often focuses on the technology behind the actual illumination, rather than in how we might want to use and control them. Incandescent, Halogen, Compact Fluorescent and now LEDs have each in turn usurped the previous technologies in terms of dramatically improved energy consumption, safer operating temperatures and longevity. But you've always had to choose your power preference when you're buying the light bulb, and then subsequently the only way to vary the brightness was ensuring your light switches had an appropriate dimmer fitted, whether on the wall or product. If not you were stuck with that point of purchase decision and unable to change the 'look and feel' of your illuminated room.
So when we received a box of Philips's new LED SceneSwitch light bulbs to try out I instantly thought "now there's a good idea... how come nobody thought of this before?" These standard looking (and fitting) light bulbs offer 3 different brightness settings by simply switching your existing light bulb through 3 on/off cycles. You can switch between 100% bright, 40% natural or 10% cosy options. There's no need to install special dimmers as your existing on/off switches will 'communicate' with the light bulbs through your sequential ons and offs. They even have an auto-memory feature built in too, so they remember your previous preference setting when you next flick the switch back on again. And of course, being LED based light you get all the positive benefits of low power and heat as well as the longevity this technology offers.
So... one bulb, three settings and installation that's literally as easy as changing a light bulb!
We'll be trying them out around our home, on a range of lighting options and in different contexts, and so will let you know soon how we found using them.
Words by Graham Powell & images by Helen Powell. Posted in collaboration with Philips.