Is Philips' latest LED lighting innovation a marriage wrecker?

Now you can set your home light bulbs to flash or change color when your sports team scores. Tunable to any alert - stock prices, weather forecast, traffic reports, social media - through the Net.

The mood is about to change.

Dutch electronics giant Philips has taken lighting control to a whole new level. Now you can program your home LED bulbs to dance when your sports team scores.

In fact you can set them to flash or change colors in response to all sorts of events such as stock price movements, weather forecasts, traffic reports, social media messages, emails or whatever alert you want.

It works through the latest twist to an app called Hue that Philips introduced last fall. Hue lets people use their smartphones or tablet computers to turn lights on or off, change their color or brightness, set them on timers or to give them other such instructions.

The new version, called Hue 1.1, responds to more than mere mortals. It also takes instructions from the Internet. Thus, any sort of digital alert or news feed can act as a trigger, Philips explains in a press release. You also need a special WiFi box, available through Apple retail outlets.

LEDs - light emitting diodes - are rudimentary semiconductors and thus lend themselves to digital control, adding to a list of attributes that includes tremendous energy efficiency compared to conventional incandescent bulbs.

But is this a good thing for marriages? Imagine the romantic dinner. Blackberries, iPhones, television all switched off. Dining room lights low. Candles flickering. Conversational tones soft and understanding. Then the husband erupts into paroxysms of woop-woop joy as the lamp in the corner flashes with Manchester United's latest goal. Or with the schizophrenic New York Jets' latest quarterback signing.

Depends on what's important to you, I guess. But it's there for the asking, as the digital crusade continues its relentless march into our existence.

Sorry for the male cliché in my dining vignette above. Yes, women are sports fans too. And many men manage to avoid falling into that bottomless pit. But to keep my blog posts succinct, occasionally I have to lean on stereotypes. Feel free to comment below.

I'll have to stop writing this now because I've just been blinded by the light as Pedro Alvarez homered in the ninth. Oh, wait a minute. That was a weather alert, not a sports flash. Horizontal rain and cold is on its way to southwest England, where I live. It's mid-May for crying out loud. I'm going to go punch out some lights.

But you can watch some LED hue and cry by clicking on this video:

Image from Squidoo.com. Video from Philips via YouTube.

A flash of LED stories, from SmartPlanet:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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