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Linux-based Lamp offers 'illumination as a service'

A Sydney company will use a Kickstarter program to launch a programmable light running a LAMP stack.
Written by Spandas Lui, Contributor

After going through two name changes, inventor Mark Pesce has renamed the "illumination-as-a-service" lamp the Light by MooresCloud.

Mark Pesce's Light.
Mark Pesce's Light (Credit: ZDNet/Spandas Lui)

Originally known as the CloudLight, Pesce was forced to rename it to the LightCloud after realising that a "CloudLight" was already trademarked in Australia. Then, yesterday, the inventor received a cease-and-desist letter from a company in the US, which had applied to use the name LightCloud 11 days before Pesce's team filed, resulting in its final name change to the Light.

The product is basically a cube containing a number of LED lights connected to a small computer running Linux with Wi-Fi, and packs an accelerometer and a web server. This means that the cube can run applications, and be commanded to perform certain light-based tasks through internet-connected mobile devices.

Mark Pesce, one of the inventors, dubbed it "illumination as a service."

The Light by MooresCloud was invented by a team of Australians with Pesce as their leader. There are currently 11 people working on the project. The MooresCloud team is seeking to get the Light in production by procuring AU$700,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, which will begin on October 16.

With the ability to display an array of colours, the Light can also be programmed to communicate and coordinate with other machines. The product runs on open hardware and software, and Pesce hopes that this will encourage developers to make a whole bunch of apps to take the Light to very different places.

Eventually, Pesce wants to have his very own app store for the Light.

"Because it's a full computer running Linux inside, essentially what you can do with it is bound only by your imagination," Pesce said.

One Sydney-based organisation, which he would not name, is already in talks with MooresCloud to use the Light to track the progress of its processors. For instance, if a processor is failing, it communicates with the Light, and the cube will flash a specific colour.

For average consumers who have no programming background, Pesce and his team are working on a browser-based HTML5 interface, where apps can be acquired that will make the Light perform set functions, such as mimicking the glow of a candle.

The Light is set to retail at AU$99. As for the Kickstarter program that intends to raise AU$700,000, donators who contribute AU$99 will each receive their own unit.

"Of the AU$700,000, only around AU$270,000 can be allocated to development, because Kickerstarter and Amazon payments take their little bit and the rest of it is going out in rewards [the Light itself]," Pesce said.

The Light will be manufactured in China. While the cube is currently powered by an adapter, the plan is to release a battery-powered version.

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