App Syncs Your Lights and Computer to Create the Perfect Mood Lighting

Philips Lighting
Philips Lighting

Smart lighting systems aren't just about getting Alexa to turn on your lights anymore. Now, they're creating "immersive experiences," according to Philips Lighting, which just launched new software that will allow users to sync up their lights to video games, music, and movies.

As Engadget reports, the Hue Sync app will debut later this year and will let you program your Philips Hue smart lights to change according to your entertainment—say, changing colors to match the mood of the song you're playing or adjusting brightness to make your gaming session easier on the eyes.

A cell phone open to an app that shows a color wheel
Philips Lighting

To kick off the app's debut, the company has partnered with the gaming company Razer to integrate Sync into video games. According to Philips, it will create "immediate, immersive light scripts for any game, movie, or music played on the computer." You'll be able to set the scene for a romantic date night soundtracked to Marvin Gaye or create the perfect stage lighting for your kid's dramatic reenactment of Phineas and Ferb's latest antics on Netflix.

The system connects to your PC or Mac, so it will only work if you're watching TV or playing games on your computer, though, not on devices like Roku or Xbox. There aren't a whole lot of details available about its release yet, so stay tuned for more intel on what the app will be able to do once it's released.

[h/t Engadget]

Mountable Laserlight Projector Creates a Personal Bike Lane for Cyclists

Beryl, Kickstarter
Beryl, Kickstarter

All the blinking lights and reflectors in the world aren't enough to prevent your bike from disappearing into a truck's blind spot. But what if you could extend the length of your bike by an 20 extra feet with the click of a button? That's the concept behind the Laserlight Core, a product currently raising funds on Kickstarter, Fast Company reports.

Laserlight resembles a small flashlight, and it attaches easily to the front of your handlebars. When biking, you can switch it on to project a laser image of a green bike symbol onto the street several yards in front of you. If the driver of a van, truck, or bus can't see your actual bike in their mirror, the idea is that the light will make them aware of your presence. The projection is about the width of a bike lane, so it may also encourage drivers to give cyclists more road space than they would have otherwise. According to an independent study on the light from Transport for London, bikers with Laserlight are about 97 percent visible at night to drivers in vans (compared to 65 visibility with a standard LED light).

Emily Brooke came up up with the concept seven years ago as a design student at England's University of Brighton. After a frighteningly close encounter with a van while biking, she wondered if she could invent a way to get the attention of drivers even when she was stuck squarely in their blind spots.

Her product, originally dubbed Blaze, launched on Kickstarter in 2012. The campaign was a success, and now she's returning to the crowdfunding platform with a new-and-improved version of the item. Laserlight Core is easier to mount than its predecessor and it also projects a clearer image. You can reserve yours with a pledge of $75 or more with shipping estimated for December of this year. (It makes a great gift for the dedicated cyclist in your life, too.)

[h/t Fast Company]

Website Lets You Report Individuals Affected by Hurricane Michael to Search-and-Rescue Teams

Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images
Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images

When Hurricane Michael made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane on October 10, it became the strongest storm to hit the continental U.S. since 1992. Homes from Florida to Virginia have since been leveled and at least 11 people have died. With internet and phone lines down across the disaster zone, many people are desperate to know if their loved ones are safe—now there's an online tool that can help them.

If you're having trouble getting in touch with someone who was in the hurricane's path, you can report them through a new website set up by the Florida National Guard, First Coast News reports. The site asks for the person's name, gender, age, and address, as well as any life-threatening issues they may be facing, such as low oxygen or medication supplies. After you submit their information, the State Emergency Operations Center forwards it to the relevant local agency doing recovery work.

Michael moved back over the Atlantic as a post-tropical storm Friday morning following its rampage through the southeastern U.S. More than 1000 search-and-rescue workers have already been deployed in Florida alone, and the death toll is expected to rise as clean-up efforts continue across the region.

[h/t First Coast News]