An Australian entrepreneur has developed a reimagined light bulb that can last for 25 years and be controlled by smartphone – and in two days he’s raised more than $600,000 on crowd-funding website Kickstarter to make it come to life.

Phil Bosua of Ferny Creek in Melbourne, 38, a father of two, is the creator of LIFX, a Wi-Fi enabled, multi-colour, energy efficient LED light-bulb that you can control with your iPhone or Android smartphone.

LIFX can not only be turned on and off using a smartphone, but can also have its colour and brightness changed. It can also be programmed to be turned on at certain times and can even be set to match the beat of a song, as well as react to notifications on a smartphone like those from Twitter and Facebook and flash a certain colour.

Phil Bosua.
Phil Bosua, inventor and co-founder of LIFX.

Speaking with Fairfax Media from New York, where Bosua is “learning how entrepreneurship works in America”, he said the idea to re-invent the light-bulb came to him about six months ago when a friend relayed a frustration to him concerning renovating.

“Basically a friend of mine was sort of saying that they wished that they could have a wireless [light-bulb] switch in their home because they were renovating and didn’t want to cut up their brick wall to run a wire down it,” Bosua said. “And he basically asked me [what I could do about it], because he sort of knew that I was the inventive type.

“I said, ‘Well, actually, I think there’s something in that. I think it would be possible to connect your smartphone to your lights. [And] it really just grew from that.”’

LIFX allows you match your lighting with your mood.
LIFX allows you to match your lighting with your mood.

He said LIFX light-bulbs can last up to 25 years and used up to 50 to 80 per cent less energy than light-bulbs currently used by many households and said this was one of the reasons why he wanted to get his project off the ground, as he thought that current light-bulbs “didn’t represent the smart culture of our day and our eco-aware sensibilities”.

But he never expected the project, which began as a weekend hobby, to reach more than $500,000 on its second day of crowd-funding, surpassing the $100,000 goal he set on it (just over $500,000 was pledged this morning and by this afternoon it had reached $600,000). The minimum pledge, which more than 900 backers have chosen, costs $US69 and gets the backers one LIFX light-bulb, which includes shipping to Australia, Canada or the US.

“Wow. That was my first reaction,” Bosua said when seeing how much had been pledged by the more than 3900 backers on the Kickstarter website as of this morning.

You can also visualise your music using LIFX.
You can also visualise your music using LIFX.

“I’m glad that this project resonated with people as much as it resonated with me,” he said.

As well as working on his project to re-invent the light-bulb, which now has six co-founders, Bosua runs a successful iPhone and iPad app-making business called LimeMouse and is also working on a project called RefreshHQ to make brand’s Facebook feeds more engaging. He’s also been involved in two other Kickstarter projects, one of which raised $184,499 earlier this year to build a portable scanning box that uses a smartphone’s camera to take high-quality scans.

He said one of the most successful apps he had developed through LimeMouse was a Gray’s Anatomy e-book designed for people like medical students or others interested in the human body.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

10 products that defined Steve Jobs from Apple

One of the first Apple computers.

1:51pm | Steve Jobs had no formal schooling in engineering, yet he’s listed as the inventor or co-inventor on more than 200 US patents.

Joint co-founder of Apple retires as CEO of the mighty conglomerate which he drove to the top of the IT world.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

3D telepresence of people

It may not be a jet powered car, but it’s definitely one we’ve seen in sci-fi movies before – the ability to converse with a life-size holographic image of another person in real time. 3d movies are just the start of it and ther’s more to come.

The futurists at IBM point to recent advances in 3D cameras and movies, predicting that holography chat (aka 3D telepresence) can’t be all that far behind. Already, the University of Arizona has unveiled a system that can transmit holographic images in near-real-time.

It is also predicted that 3D visualization could be applied to data, allowing researchers to “step inside” software programs (wasn’t that just in a movie?), computer models, or pretty much anything else that is limited by a simple 2D screen. IBM compares it to the way in which the Earth appears undistorted when we experience it first-hand in three dimensions, yet it appears pinched at the top and bottom when we see it on a two-dimensional world map.

Maybe travelling inside the blood vessels of the human body is not so silly after all.We will see….

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Personal sensors creating “civilian scientists”

The way it is presently, most scientific data must be gathered by scientists, who have to go out in the field and set up sensors or other data recording devices. Within five years, however, a lot of that data could be gathered and transmitted by sensors in our phones, cars, wallets, computers, or just about anything else that is subjected to the real world. Such sensors could be used to create massive data groups used for everything from fighting global warming to tracking invasive species. IBM also sees custom scientific smartphone apps playing a part in “citizen science,” and has already launched an application called Creek Watch, that allows us citizens to update the local water authority on creek conditions.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Customized commuting

Just as Mapquest is valuable and other online mapping services are to many of us, apparently it’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the not-so-distant future, says IBM, sensors and other data sources (such as the aforementioned citizen scientists, perhaps?) will provide a continuous stream of information on traffic conditions, road construction, public transit schedules, and other factors that could affect your commute. When you inquire about the quickest way of getting from A to B, computer systems will do more than simply consulting a map – they will also take into account all the variables unique to that day and time, combine them with mathematical models and predictive analytics technologies, and advise a route accordingly. It is also possible that, utilizing such data, traffic management systems could learn traffic patterns, and self-adjust themselves to minimize congestion.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


A new meaning to keeping your eye on the ball


Entrepreneur’s Edge: Orbotix (1:58)

Reuters Small Business presents expansion pitches from upstarts across the country. Robotic gaming startup Orbotix has developed technology that lets people control a ball with their smartphone. Here’s the pitch:


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Cell Phone Viruses

Pose Serious Threat, Scientists Warn

Science (May 22, 2009) — If you own a computer, chances are you have experienced the aftermath of a nasty virus at some point. In contrast, there have been no major outbreaks of mobile phone viral infection, despite the fact that over 80 percent of Americans now use these devices. A team headed by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, director of the Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University, set out to explain why this is true.

The researchers used calling and mobility data from over six million anonymous mobile phone users to create a comprehensive picture of the threat mobile phone viruses pose to users. The results of this study, published in the May 22 issue of Science, indicate that a highly fragmented market share has effectively hindered outbreaks thus far. Further, their work predicts that viruses will pose a serious threat once a single mobile operating system’s market share grows sufficiently large. This event may not be far off, given the 150 percent annual growth rate of smart phones.

“We haven’t had a problem so far because only phones with operating systems, so-called ‘smart phones’, are susceptible to viral infection,” explained Marta Gonzalez, one of the authors of the publication. “Once a single operating system becomes common, we could potentially see outbreaks of epidemic proportion because a mobile phone virus can spread by two mechanisms: a Bluetooth virus can infect all Bluetooth-activated phones in a 10-30 meter radius, while Multimedia Messaging System (MMS) virus, like many computer viruses, spreads using the address book of the device. Not surprisingly, hybrid viruses, which can infect via both routes, pose the most significant danger.”

This study builds upon earlier research by the same group, which used mobile phone data to create a predictive model of human mobility patterns. The current work used this model to simulate Bluetooth virus infection scenarios, finding that Bluetooth viruses will eventually infect all susceptible handsets, but the rate is slow, being limited by human behavioral patterns. This characteristic suggests there should be sufficient time to deploy countermeasures such as antiviral software to prevent major Bluetooth outbreaks. In contrast, spread of MMS viruses is not restricted by human behavioral patterns, however spread of these types of viruses are constrained because the number of susceptible devices is currently much smaller.

As our world becomes increasingly connected we face unprecedented challenges. Studies such as this one, categorized as computational social science, are necessary to understand group behavior and organization, assess potential threats, and develop solutions to the issues faced by our ever-changing society.

“This is what statistical analysis of complex systems is all about: finding patterns in nature,” said Gonzalez. “This research is vital because it puts a huge amount of data into the service of science.”

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Intel Turns to Light

to Transfer Data Inside PCs

// <![CDATA[// Jul 28, 2010 6:40 am

Intel on Tuesday announced it had developed a prototype interconnect that uses light to speed up data transmission inside computers at the speed of 50 gigabits per second.

Intel researchers said that the optical technology could ultimately replace the use of copper wires and electrons to carry data inside or around computers. An entire high-definition movie can be transmitted each second with the prototype, the researchers said.

The technology will also be able to carry data over longer distances than copper wires, Intel researchers said.

Intel’s chief technology officer Justin Rattner characterized the research prototype as a breakthrough in research as copper wires were reaching their limit. There is a wealth of data that needs to be moved, and transferring data at 10G bps or more over copper wires is becoming a challenge. Even if the data could be transferred over copper wires at that speed, there are distance trade-offs.

Optical interconnects solve that problem by allowing data transfers at much faster rates, and over longer distances, Rattner said on a conference call to discuss the technology.

“Photonics gives us the ability to move those mass quantities of data across the room… in a cost-effective matter,” Rattner said.

The photonics technology could potentially speed up data transfers within PCs or devices such as handhelds, where movies could be downloaded at faster rates, Rattner said.

Laser is already used in devices such as DVD players, and also for applications such as long-distance communication. Laser technology can however be expensive, and Intel wants to bring the technology down to a low-cost point where it can be integrated into everyday devices, Rattner said. The company hopes to raise the speed of the optical interconnect to reach up to 1T bps (bits per second) as it increases the number of channels to improve data transfers.

But for now, the company has demonstrated in principle that it can get the pieces together and put it together in a fab. The next step is to implement it in chips and take it to volume manufacturing. The technology could reach the mass market by the middle of the decade, and could go into PCs, servers or mobile devices.

The technology won’t be implemented at the integrated circuit level in the short term, but could replace copper wires that connect CPU to memory, for example, said Mario Paniccia, an Intel fellow. The optical interconnect will reduce latency, which could result in faster data movement and processing.

“We think it’s going to be perfectly at home in data-center applications,” Rattner said. For consumer applications, an optical interconnect would also help users to down movies to handheld devices at faster rates, Rattner said.

“Once we’re confident we have a high-volume manufacturing capability, then we’ll turn to the business question: what market opportunities are attractive to Intel?” Rattner asked.

The research prototype brings together a number of previous Intel research around devices that emit, manipulate, combine, separate and detect light. The interconnect includes a transmitter chip on a PC board that puts four optical channels on to fiber, and a receiver chip that receives the incoming light, splits the optical signals and converts the photons to electrical data.

Intel is already working on a new optical interconnect to link external storage drives, mobile devices and displays to PCs up to 100 meters away. Called Light Peak, the interconnect helps communicate data at up to 10G bps. Intel sees Light Peak as potential technology to replace USB, which is commonly used to connect storage and other devices to PCs.

Many companies, including Sun, which is now part of Oracle, and IBM have been involved in silicon photonics research.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Before you proudly go posting photos of your Ming vase online, you should be aware that computer-savvy burglars can likely use that photo to find out where you live. The same goes for photos or videos of your kids, yourself, or anything else that you don’t want strangers knowing how to locate. The practice of tracking people via their posted images is an example of “cybercasing”, and is possible because many digital cameras and smart phones, including the iPhone, automatically geotag their images by embedding the longitude and latitude at which they were taken. Even when uploaded to a website, the images still retain this information. By plugging the coordinates into a service like Google Street View, getting an address or an identifying landmark is entirely possible.

This disturbing fact was recently announced in a report published by the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI). Researchers Gerald Friedland and Robin Sommer wrote that they successfully obtained the home addresses of people who had posted photos in ads on Craigslist, despite those people having opted to keep their addresses hidden in their postings.

Creepier still, they were also able to obtain addresses where home videos of children had been shot, by searching under the tag “kids” on YouTube. They then proceeded to search for recent videos from those same users, that had been shot over 1,000 miles away. Within 15 minutes, they were able to determine that 13 of these video posters were likely still away on vacation, leaving their homes available for burglary.

While iPhones do geotag by default, it is possible to turn the feature off. The folks over at I Can Stalk U (they’re against stalking, not in favor of it) can show you how. For other phones and cameras, a Googling or a look through your user’s manual should tell you what you need to know.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

OSRAM Opto Semiconductors
Press release from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors – 2010-04-28
Powerful LED flash for cell phones

Powerful LED flash for cell phones

OSLUX now with UX:3 chip technology

The new OSLUX from OSRAM Opto Semiconductors is brighter and smaller than ever before and provides extremely uniform light thanks to a chip fabricated in state-of-the-art UX:3 technology. Together with an optimized lens it not only ensures that the LED is 50 percent brighter than the predecessor model but also that the light is much more evenly distributed and can therefore illuminate a wide area.

The new OSLUX has an area of 3.9 mm² and a height of only 2.5 mm (previously 3 mm) but is 50 lx brighter. This takes its output to an impressive 150 lx. The light is uniformly distributed in the flash; the usual round spot in the center is completely absent. “Our OSLUX is therefore perfect for the fast-growing design-based smartphone and cell phone segment”, said Gunnar Klick, Marketing Manager Consumer at OSRAM Opto Semiconductors. “Even extremely thin phones can now be equipped with a powerful LED flash so they can deliver pictures of superb quality”.

The LED is available in two versions with different lenses. These are already integrated in the LED and are matched to the beam characteristics of the top-emitting UX:3 chips. The subject of the picture is illuminated in a uniform rectangular pattern. The distribution of the light depends on the lens used: 40% or 20% of the center brightness is possible in the corners. At a distance of one meter the LED flash uniformly illuminates a diagonal of 90 cm, which is sufficient to produce razor-sharp pictures even in low light conditions.

The impressive brightness is the result of new UX:3 chip technology that makes the LED capable of handling high currents and gets even more light from the chip. What’s more, the light is more evenly distributed over the surface compared to previous chip technologies. The new OSLUX is therefore considerably more efficient at high currents than previous LEDs and offers impressive luminous efficacy in a small area.

With the new OSLUX OSRAM’s LED portfolio for flash applications is even better tailored to the latest trends in which mobile slimline terminals require small powerful light sources. For users who want to supply their own lens packages there is the CERAMOS which has no lens.

Press contact:
Marion Reichl
Headquarter, Europe

Tel: +49 (0) 941 – 850 – 16 93
Fax: +49 (0) 941 – 850 – 33 05

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 23rd May 2010