This lamp can detect ambient color and change its light to match

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Lighting is everything in an environment, as important as the furniture you choose to fill your home with. It is, as seasoned selfie-takers say, critical for establishing a #mood. Italian product design company Digital Habits understands this and has created the Color Swing, an ambient color-detecting lamp that can change its own light to match in real time.

The video above demonstrates the lamp shifting its light to match the two colors it’s swinging between: a red plate placed underneath, and a yellow car that slides into frame. The Color Swing works with an IR sensor at the bottom that detects the color of whatever is below it. The technology isn’t new. You can actually build your own color-sensing lamp with this $8 Adafruit RGB color sensor, and follow along with plenty of Arduino tutorials online. But look how cool and sleek its product video is! Think of the selfies!

Digital Habits

At the moment, ColorSwing is just a prototype, with “no plans to put it in production. Let's say it is an experiment with no specific practical applications,” the company told The Verge in an email. That’s a bummer, but if you don’t care much for premium Italian design, Amazon sells this hilarious ColorUp “magic color sensing lamp” for $99.


This is a really slick innovation. Don’t often have first impressions with truly-minimalist new ideas.

Imagine the number of concepts necessary to achieve color control using something like dials; at the very least, you’d probably want a knob for red, green and blue, plus an understanding of the theoretical systems of color theory and mixing light and all that. It’s theoretical in nature; there’s knowledge required.

Whereas this thing requires the ability to point to a color you like, and that’s about it.

I’m not saying it’s gonna be in everyone’s homes or anything, but if you want to compare minimalisms, count concepts.

Just to be sure, you are joking right?

Nope. Show me another lamp that does this and I’ll happily retract it, though.

Novelty isn’t the same as innovation. This novel, but hardly useful. It’s a gimmick at best. Are you really implying it’s easier to find an object with the exact color you want the light to display rather than just use a hue slider in an app?

Are you really implying it’s easier to find an object with the exact color you want the light to display rather than just use a hue slider in an app?

You’ve got it backwards. Are you really implying it’s easier to use a hue slider to match the exact color of an object?

While this looks useless for most consumers, I can see it being interesting for retail product displays.

Just buy a cheap colour detector and enter the RGB values in the app. Sorted.

Why would you want a light to match the colour of an object in the first place? Sure if that’s your goal this is easier, but my point is this is nobody’s goal.

I’m not talking about usefulness (see the last line of my first post), I’m talking about ideas — design ideas, and how few a designer can use while still perfectly communicating an interface for the user.

That said, novelty and innovation are — in fact — pretty similar; they’re both ways of saying "new idea," after all. I wouldn’t say innovation requires usefulness, though. (Nor novelty.) I’d actually consider it completely unrelated to innovation.

Well I disagree. To me, something is not innovative if it serves no benefit or utility to anyone. I can make 1000 completely new things in a week, I’ll make a bicycle that has castors instead of wheels with tires, or a desk made out of styrofoam, or an umbrella with big polka dot holes in it. These are all new, does that make them innovative?

Go to any class that is teaching electronics 101 the day that you have to learn to use a color sensor, then you will see thousand of them. There was even a DIY in the post…

I’ll point out that my opinion on this front actually comes from my experience building electronics.

Sensors are parts, not products. I’m not familiar with a multi-color lamp product this simple, is my point.

Sensors are parts, not products. I’m not familiar with a multi-color lamp product this simple, is my point.

I have seen quite a few for different research projects/prototype doing this, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are also some being sold to consumer. The one in the article is just a prototype, so it isn’t even certain they will sell and calling it innovation on a prototype stage is incorrect use of the word, you can at most call it an invention.

Well, I love semantic arguments, but I wonder if our hair-splitting may be subjective:

Merriam Webster

1) discovery, finding
2) productive imagination
3) something invented, such as a product of the imagination, especially a false conception
4) a device, contrivance, or process originated after study and experiment

1) the introduction of something new
2) a new idea, method, or device

I was gonna pull up the Oxford English Dictionary, but I don’t have one handy, and apparently there’s not an online version. (Say whaaaaat.)


1) something newly designed or created, or the activity of designing or creating new things

1) a new idea or method, or the use of new ideas and methods

Your definitions confirm his post. It isn’t a new idea, just a new thing.

I’ll re-iterate that my continuing topic has been ‘This-Idea-For-A-Thing [see: lamp product] And That It Is New,’ so the attempt to curtail this with a distinction between ‘ideas’ and ‘things’ seems to miss the point I’ve been trying to make.

But I like reasoned debate — and I’m procrastinating — so of course I’ll roll with you.

"Your definitions confirm his post."

Before we even get to actual logic-crunching, one quick point: he said "calling [this lamp] innovation on a prototype stage is incorrect use of the word, you can at most call it an invention," and my reply was to indicate that he was essentially [sorry Dreka] making up subjective definitions to suit his purpose. Unless you think the definitions I posted confirm what he was saying — in other words, unless you agree "calling it innovation on a prototype stage is incorrect use of the word, you can at most call it an invention" is supported by the definitions from Webster’s and Cambridge — my definitions don’t confirm his post, at least in the terms of the reply as intended.

At best, your claim is based on taking my claim out of context.

"It isn’t a new idea, just a new thing."

…but just for fun, suppose it was the correct context, and it fell to me to debate the second half of your claim on its [disputed] merits.

You seem to be interested in an argument based on difference and similarity, which follows the reasoning, "based on the significance of the measured distance between these two concepts, we can conclusively say there is enough of a distinction between them" […that we have successfully invalidated OP’s argument by proving the distinction exists.] [Again, to be clear, even if you were to prove such a distinction, I’m saying it’d be a non-sequitur, and we can have that argument if you want.]

In a nutshell, you’re saying "these definitions prove there is a smoking-gun distinction here."

Here’s my rebuttal: these definitions also prove there is a smoking-gun overlap, clearly, and this line of debate would ultimately take the form of making a ‘conceptual distinctions’ and ‘conceptual overlaps’ list and seeing which one is longest at the end of the day.

I’m not interested in doing that, myself, but if anybody wants to keep talking about this, I welcome them to set the precedent for how that argument plays out.

(I’m having a great time with this, btw, so hopepfully nobody is too heated up about it.)

Did you even read the article? The other lamp is in the last sentence.

Waiting for your retraction.

Retracted. Zeptillian wins.

The product nobody asked for.

I don’t get it. Why would I want this when I can have a phillip’s hue bulb that can change to any color on a whim? I seriously need to find an object to put under it every time?

Dead on arrival

Put it above the toilet, can it do yellow and brown ?

Don’t forget about Huey!

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