A delivery operations engineer at Tesla was sitting in his Silicon Valley office last year and wondered why the lights were on full power when so much natural light was coming through the windows. After doing a bit of research, Neil Joseph found only a few commercial and expensive responsive bulbs exist. So, he left Tesla to form his own lighting company called Stack.
Stack's first product is called Alba, which are bulbs that work autonomously by adjusting light output based on sunlight and learning the habits of the household.
In Alba's light diodes are sensors that are used for motion, occupancy and ambient light. Cofounder and former NASA engineer Jovi Gascusan had to create a new core technology to ensure that Alba could read and react to available light. With its ability to react to natural light, Alba uses 60 to 80 percent less energy than regular LED bulbs.
“If you think about noise-canceling headphones, we have to cancel out the light being emitted by the light itself to understand how much light is in the light source,” Joseph told Wired.
In order to tailor itself to each owner, Alba uses algorithms to remember their habits.
“If we notice that people are in a certain part of the house, at certain times of day, and then they mosey on over to a bedroom, and then they spend more time awake in the bedroom before they go to bed we can start to light a pathway,” Joseph said.
In the morning, Alba emits lights with blue tones to help users wake up and become more alert. Throughout the day, it changes to warmer shades of white.
Users can also use the Stack app to adjust lighting to coincide with events that Alba may not have picked up on. They can create different profiles, like 'dinner party' or 'nap time,' and choose to use them at the appropriate times. Alba will also use this data to learn more about the household.
Joseph hopes to eventually partner with other companies, like thermostat manufacturers, to make homes smarter and healthier.
Alba's starter kit, which includes two bulbs, is selling for $150.
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