There are no shortage of smart LED bulbs being introduced at CES 2017, but the Soraa Helia bulb stands out for its way of looking at the actual technology behind the light itself, and the health benefits the light could provide.
Illuminate Me. Why Should I Care?
Because of how they're designed, LEDs emit a lot of light in the blue spectrum, which triggers our brains to become more active. While that's good for the morning, when we need to wake up and be more active, it becomes detrimental in the evenings, when our brains need to wind down and get some rest. It's why Apple has implemented Night Mode on its iPhone. Helia's LED, made from gallium-nitride substrates, is designed differently, and emits very little light in the blue spectrum, except when you need it.
How It Works
When you set it up, the Helia bulbs learn when sunrise and sunset are in your area, and then will change the type of white light they emit during the day, going from a cooler light in the morning to a warmer light in the evening. In addition, special SNAP modules can be inserted into the bulbs, which will detect a person's presence, and turn the lights on and off accordingly.
These modules, which can be programmed via a smartphone app, will learn your habits, so that they will emit just little bit of light at night when you wake up to go to the bathroom, for example. Plus, the company is hoping that third parties will create additional modules to work with the lights.
Pricing and Availability
The Soraa Helia lights will be available in the spring. Each bulb (a BR30-style) will cost $49 each, while the SNAP module will cost $30. However, you only need one of these per room. When purchasing the bulbs from Soraa, the company will ask how many bulbs you need per room, and then send you the lot in a single package.
The Helia bulbs use Bluetooth to talk to each other and your smartphone; if you want to control them remotely, you'll also need to purchase the Cloud Connect accessory for $49. They will also work with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT.
While on the pricey side for smart LEDs, the Helia bulbs could confer some health benefits, and the idea that they'll automatically change from cool to warm light during the day is a definite benefit. Other technology inside the bulbs — turning on only when needed, and working with other smart home systems — also makes them compelling bulbs.