A Smarter Light Bulb That Mimics The Setting Sun

And all you need to operate it is a light switch.

A Smarter Light Bulb That Mimics The Setting Sun

In the age of smart appliances, we’re using everything from our iPhones to our gestures to control Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected thermostats and smoke detectors. But a new, smarter light bulb called the Drift by Saffron needs only the most domestic of tools to operate: your light switch.


Flick the switch on and the LED light bulb will glow like any bulb you know. Flip the switch on twice, and you enter Midnight Mode, which gradually dims the light over the course of 37 minutes to lull you to sleep like a setting sun. Flip the switch three times, and you enter Moonlight Mode, which slowly dims the bulb but stops at a faint glow to serve as a nightlight.

“When we decided to build a self-dimming light bulb, we didn’t even consider using the light switch at first. We considered a custom light switch, wireless (Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/ZigBee) and even a physical switch on the base of the bulb,” Saffron CEO Preston Wily tells Co.Design. “[But] we wanted our solution to be easy to use, fit almost any standard light bulb fixture, and be simple to install. We went back to the drawing board and came up with the idea of using the way people normally interact with lights as our basis for setting the Drift Light.”

That’s what makes the Drift’s approach so elegant. From installation to operation, the product piggybacks on the infrastructure we already have in our homes. You screw it into a socket like any other light bulb. An internal microprocessor–invisible to users–sits at the ready, waiting for commands. And the interface is a simple switch that is never too far from the bulb.

The only real complaint we have is a small one. If you pay attention to the circadian-rhythm light-hacking space–an extremely specific interest to be sure!–you’ll have heard of LED-based devices like the Aura alarm clock, which go so far as to shift the color spectrum from orange to blue to mimic sunrise and sunset. If it were a step more ambitious (and potentially, more expensive), the Drift could do this too. But I guess this leaves us reason to look forward to their 2.0 product.

The Drift can be preordered for $29.

Buy it here.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.