CheerLights with LIFX Wi-Fi Light Bulbs

My mom asked me to setup a CheerLights lamp in their living room to stay connected with me. I was thrilled that she asked me to do this for her.

CheerLights, BTW, is one of my projects that synchronizes color lights to the same color all around the world by sending a Tweet mentioning “cheerlights” and a color name.

“@CheerLights Let’s go Blue!”

For my mom, I wanted the setup to be easy. I have made @cheerlights with Arduino, Philips Hue, and Particle. But, all of these solutions are very DIY and require some programming to get working. I looked around for an alternative solution. I discovered the LIFX A21 Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Light Bulb. What makes this solution ideal for my parents home is that there is no hub needed – just Wi-Fi. The LIFX bulb is currently $99 at Amazon, but I found it in my local Best Buy store for $59! This means that the LIFX so far is the cheapest way to join @CheerLights and have a really nice display in your house.

LIFX Wi-Fi Light Bulb

Installation Steps:

  • Connect your phone to your Wi-Fi network
  • Install the LIFX mobile app on your phone
  • Connect the LIFX led bulb to any light socket and turn it on
  • Open the app and go to “Add Bulb”

LIFX Cloud:

Once your bulb is linked to the app, you will be notified that the bulb requires a software update. Once this happens the bulb will be connectable by the LIFX Cloud API. Sign into https://cloud.lifx.com/ and generate your secret key. Make sure to save this key somewhere so you can use it to setup ThingSpeak.

ThingSpeak Setup:

  • Signup for ThingSpeak
  • Create a ThingHTTP by selecting Apps -> ThingHTTP
  • ThingHTTP Settings:
  • Create a TweetControl for each color that you want to display
  • TweetControl Settings for “blue”:
    • Check “Anonymous TweetControl”
    • Trigger: blue
    • ThingHTTP Action: Select “LIFX Cloud API”

Testing:

Now, that you have everything setup. We get to have fun. Test everything out by sending a Tweet using Twitter.

“@CheerLights Let’s go Blue!”

Not only does your light turn blue, but thousands of other lights on the @CheerLights project will turn blue at the same time.

Visit CheerLights.com for more information about the project!

CheerLights is Back for the Holidays

For the third holiday season in a row, the CheerLights project is gearing up. The idea behind CheerLights is to show that we are all connected by synchronizing the color of lights around the world. Christmas lights are a staple around the holidays and with Internet-connected lights, the color of your lights matches the color of everyone else’s lights.

It has been a real treat watching this project evolve as more and more people add lights… and other things. Things like Android and iPhone apps that check the latest color of CheerLights, an old Commodore 64, and Christmas trees.

To control the lights around the world, send a Tweet mentioning @CheerLights and a color. The command is processed by ThingSpeak platform and distributed to all of the lights listening to the CheerLights API.

@CheerLights I am dreaming of a White Christmas

Another powerful aspect of the CheerLights project is that is shows off what is possible with the emerging Internet of Things. With a single message sent via a social network like Twitter, 1000’s of objects around the world are in sync with each other. Lights are connected by many types of controllers, such as Arduino, ioBridge, Philips, and the Raspberry Pi. This project is only possible through the Internet and the coordination of developers around the world.

Learn how to join the project at CheerLights.com.

We are all connected…

CheerLights: my lights are linked to everyone else’s

If you have been following my projects for the last 12 years, you probably figured out that I must have a master plan. And this plan involves connecting things to the Internet that may or may not turn against us in the future. Way back in 2001, my partners and I released FuzzBox – this technology allowed for artificial intelligence to be distributed to devices via the Web. Our thoughts were if the decision making could be made on the Internet the devices themselves could focus on their task vs. trying to be a super device on their own. This was way early on and the ideas were premature, but it started a series of events and failures that led to even more projects involving devices linked together over the web. I guess this is now called, “The Internet of Things”.

Something that has emerged over the years is social networking. I have been fascinated by the idea of collective intelligence. It’s fun to follow a football game on Twitter or on Facebook’s live stream. You get to see the take other’s have on the same event that you are experiencing. If the Steelers score, you can feel it reverberate through social networks. These networks only work if there is lots of participation by many people. I have heard that people have predicted STD outbreaks from Twitter status updates, food poisoning sources, and even where earthquakes have taken place. This is fascinating to me.

The results are two-fold: you can learn from this data and that we are all connected. Enter in, CheerLights – CheerLights is my combination of distributed devices with social networking. This project that involves connecting multicolored lights to other people’s lights and allow Twitter keywords control them all. If someone tweets, “@cheerlights let’s go green” – every light connected to the project would change to green. To me this is a physical representation of a social network trending topic. It’s a way to share a moment in that moment. Just like with social networking, CheerLights requires scale to be very interesting.  If you check out CheerLights.com, you will see how to build a set of lights that are linked together with other people’s lights via Twitter. I have examples using things from ioBridge, Arduino, and Digi. Please let me know if you decide to build something and connect it to CheerLights.

We are all connected. That’s my purpose for building all of this technology. Nothing else matters.