Light switches. So plain and boring. We need more unique ways to turn on lights. And here’s one invention that definitely qualifies as unique. Joesph Begley’s Slap It ($700). Butt-shaped lamps that you squeeze to turn on and slap to turn off. Slightly counterintuitive though because usually slapping a butt turns it on. Of course, that would never work with this lamp because then it’d always be on, and that’s quite a waste of electricity.
Vela (pronounced veh-la) is a Bluetooth-enabled LED lamp from the small but spunky crew at Michigan-based twisthink. Is it just a light? Yeah, but it’s about as versatile a lantern as one could hope for. When fully charged it promises 16 hours of luminescence at full intensity, and many more hours if it’s dimmed. You can change the colors it emits at any time or set it to change on a timer; you can make the light dance like a candle; heck, you can even blow your phone to turn it off. So basically it’s four times as entertaining as Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern.
Yet another option now exists for people who are looking to simplify, or let’s face it, more appropriately, cool-ify their home lighting. Plugaway’s Wi-Fi connected plugs and LED lightbulbs let you use your Android or iOS device to remotely dim your lights, turn them on or off, and do the same for your appliances too. Plugaway also can keep tabs on your electricity consumption, put your appliances on a schedule, and send you notifications. The Plugaway system consists of smart plugs ($30) and smart LEDs (about $90), no expensive bridges necessary.
Candles are always good solid holiday gifts—no one will love them, but no one will throw them back at your neck either. But give your loved one a PyroPet ($22) candle this year and you may just win Christmas MVP. It starts out as a simple cat-shaped candle, but as the wax melts it reveals a sinister steel skeleton. Spooky. Designers Thorunn Arnadottir and Dan Koval are clearly a little disturbed, and that is officially now how we like our candles.
Home lighting is getting more and more fun, huh? From the fancy LED light bulbs to the more extravagant options like this Corner Light ($1,138) that creates a mind-bending triangle of light in the corner of a room. A steel bracket mounts to the wall and an aluminum frame, while a fabric diffuser harnesses the power of magnets to cling to the frame. So it’s official: We now have home lighting that is more fun to watch than After Earth.
We all had a good laugh when Brick Tamland said he loved lamp in Anchorman, but maybe he was onto something. The Cleo Floor Light from Martinelli Luce is clearly worthy of love, what with its brazen styling; it’s basically an aluminum tower that dares the dark to do its thing. A 400-watt bulb shines a bold square of light on your space, so maybe a vacuuming might be in order before a purchase.
Kenny Rogers knew when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, but that was with cards. With lamps, don’t trust Kenny; trust the people behind Lumio, one of the sexier lighting devices we’ve seen in awhile. Not only does it neatly fold into a compact and lightweight book, it’s also cordless and ready to shine eight hours on a single charge. Built-in magnets let you get creative and convenient with placement. Just like Kenny’s plastic surgeon has gotten creative with his face.
Despite our knack for whining about first world problems, there are still a few dudes left who think third world first. British designers Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeve have introduced GravityLight with the world’s poorest nations in mind. This ingenious lamp gets its energy from simple gravity–no electricity required. Just lift the attached 22-pound bag of sand and let the gear-train and D.C. motor do the rest. One tug brings 30 minutes of light. [via]