Extending the Personal Mood Hub

Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 08.44.05A few years ago in, in an attempt to ground twitter in real world usefulness, there were ‘creative’ suggestions that your refrigerator would be tweeting you to remind you that you were running low on milk. Useful and the next thing you know the refrigerator will have an account at TescoDirect. The positioning of Twitter as a lightweight communication protocol now goes without saying on both a technical and social level, then along come Philips this week with the Hue Personal Wireless Lighting system. On offer: 3 lightbulbs and a wireless controller that lets you control the  hue, intensity an schedule from your smartphone. Check out Ambience. You can choose the hues from your favourite photographs to help you ‘re-live’ the memories. Also note the ‘Community’ being created around what is at this point a seriously niche device. It’s not cheap as you will note from reviews – just under €200 for a start pack.

Is this going to far, selling too high? It’s interesting to consider Philips as an innovation company. From the street level credit to them for delivering on concepts and putting them onto the store shelves to see how people react. I have a couple of their earlier lighting experiments and much of their more mainstream gear, let alone their non-wireless light bulbs. I find it fascinating that they take to production what other companies leave to the focus groups.

When does the personal intervention start to give way to automated personalisation? You smartphone is learning a lot about you. Mood sensing based on semantic analysis of your consolidated communications could cut out the middleman and simply utilise the smartphone of some other proxy as your mood hub tweaking different aspects of your life automatically to suit your perceived mood and state of mind. Fanciful wanderings. I note that the Lifx wifi enabled light bulb was one of the most oversubscribed Kickstarter projects last year taking a similar (create a wifi mesh rather than rely on a dedicated controller) concept.

21 thoughts on “Extending the Personal Mood Hub”

  1. In some respects it is a step too far, if you can’t check your own milk without reliance on technology whats the world coming to.I wonder sometimes are we heading towards a dumbing down of humnaity as protrayed in the movie “Idiocracy ” with Luke Wilson.”Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive.”
    As a movie it is an interesting critique of a corporate controlled society.

  2. I dunno. I don’t care much for the “running low” feature, but I do think it would be quite handy to be able to remotely view what I’ve got in stock when I’m outside so to speak. Certainly would help on the occasional groceries shopping.

    Having a fully “connected” house is a big dream of mine, would love to be able to control every little thing from my phone, and I do hope that some day I’ll see it come through. Props to Philips for actually trying to push these innovations into our living room, though they could come with a less hefty price tag.

    As for Idiocracy, it’s an OK brainless flick, but I don’t think that’s necessarily where we are headed. Sure technology makes life easier for us (does it?), but that just allows us to focus our genius elsewhere. It’s the industrial revolution all over again.

  3. It’s an interesting innovation form Philips and may well be useful in terms of Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Who really knows where all this stuff is headed? The Replicator (Star Trek)?

    If we cede control of our house to a controller, what do we do with the saved time? Then some might argue that the enormous increases in leisure time up to the 1990s have been eroded. The introduction of digital devices and social media may perhaps be rendering us available all of the time…???

  4. I remember watching “Tomorrows World” as a kid, used to love it. Looking back, some of the ideas were crazy but were inspiring at the same time. Fair play to Philips though, ideas like this usually stay as prototypes and never go into mainstream, price seems a bit much as previously mentioned. I for one would rather build one myself with the components, hackaday.com is a really good site and blog for those that are interested.

    I think a stock control system for a fridge is a great concept, I don’t see it as lazy or dumbing down at all. I suppose it depends on how you spend the time you save, I would rather spend my free time on my hobbies or quality time with family and any technology or system that helps me achieve that goal is fine! I do have an argument that certain people are dumbing down as a result of the internet though, no need to go to college and learn the whys and hows when you can just skip the basics, google how to do it and not understand why.

    The replicator has already been invented Brian, 3d printers!
    Jay Leno has one and replicates car parts for some of his classic collection. He had a rare one a while ago which was missing a passenger door handle and was impossible to get. He scanned the drivers door handle, reversed the scan on computer software and used a 3d printer to manufacture a replacement

      1. That bike is not going to win the Tour de France any time soon, but I agree 3D printing is absolutely awesome.

        I would love to get a 3D printer of my own, but I think I’ll wait until they mature a bit more and the prices drop just a wee bit, a year or two more perhaps.

        If you’re interested in getting one now though, I can highly recommend http://www.shapeways.com/ as a go-to place for 3D models of anything from unicorns to coffee mugs to gun parts.

        With that in mind, what do you all think is going to happen when 3D printing becomes mainstream, and people start to build their own things in favour of going to a store.

        Are we approaching a lawsuit bonanza like we did when people began copying digital film/music and the movie/record industry refused to evolve?

  5. The thoughts that your refrigerator would start tweeting you about items in your fridge. Next thing you would see on the front of the Independant – Enda kennys fridge tweets him about horse meet in the oul burgers from tesco. I find this hillarious! What? I don’t use twitter – i went with the eBusiness tutorials and their view on twitter – was it MIT that tweeting is for twits. Maybe its just bacause I don’t get it. By the way anyone got a link to the uTube video where two people dressed up as a horse go into tesco during the week. Its meant to be hillarious.

    Turning your lights on / off from your phone even if you are out of the house? Why would you want to turn your lights on if you are out of the house? I don’t see how it would save you time. I don’t see how using the smartphone is cutting out the middle man on this occasion. And I don’t see why people would pay 200 hard earned euros for it in these recenssionary times.

  6. I have to say I’m a fan of new technology and admire innovative companies like Philips. Although some of the emerging technology may seem a bit mad at first, in a lot of cases this technology ends up inspiring someone else to either develop a new product or modify the existing one to serve a different purpose. A good example being technology adapted for use by users with a disabilities.

    Forget about 3D printers I’m waiting on the holodeck!

  7. All this talk about Philips, bulbs and printers reminded me of an eye-opening documentary I saw about a year ago. It’s called “The lightbulb conspiracy”, and I suppose most of you have watched it already, but if you haven’t it really is a must-see.



    Back to the topic, I wouldn’t be much into “mood” bulbs that can be remotely accessed via your portable devices, doesn’t really fulfil any of my household needs, not for €200 anyway, but as Derek said, probably someone will draw inspiration from it to come up with some other more “useful” invention based on this.

    As for the fridge, I think that it will come the day (and most likely in our lifetime) when your fridge not only will let you know you are running low on milk (by text/tweet/whatever is in fashion in the future), but it will itself buy the milk from the supermarket using your credit card, schedule the delivery after cross-checking your daily schedule with your smartphone and then run a purity/sterility test on that milk after you stick it in it.

    That won’t necessarily make us dumber, I actually find it appealing, I see it as “outsourcing” a boring chore which I don’t enjoy doing with the extra bonus of obtaining more leisure time for myself. A completely different thing is for example that self-driving car that Google is trying to come up with. I wouldn’t like the car to take that pleasure off me.

    A downside of 3-D printers? The Wiki Weapon Project



  8. Reading the article reminded me of a time when remote operation of equipment was a no no in industry, and for good reason. I notice shawn’s background includes involvement in automation. i remember the early days of PLC devices (programmable logic controlers) where there was a lot of accidents in factories caused by either a person or a program operating equipment without being present. The ESB at one stage advised consumers not to leave the house with washing machines ect on. I suppose because of the industry I work in I would have a clearer picture of what happens when things go wrong, and the devestation of fire, or flood. That said I still feel there is a role for smart technology in the home, but more as a monitoring tool. Also coupling with web cam tech could overcome safety issues. The future houses could still be smart and bright.

  9. I think €200 is a bit steep. I would defintely have a look at it if the price came down. Think it’s a great idea, smartphone to micro hi fi/streaming mp3 player to kick in the barry white tunes, and then boom comes the soft lighting for some horizontal jogging.

    The fridge idea i had heard of some time ago and seems like a pretty good idea. I think it could be useful if you are in a supermarket after your working day and no one was home to take a peek in the fridge on your behalf, you could see what you needed stocking up on, remotely.

    I would like to see what our bodies are running low on personally. Vitamins and nutrients, that we could be deficient in? I think it could be an excellent invention, myself. Something that is portable such as a smartphone or a tablet that can hook into the body using some type of probe, or swab device that could be analysed by a piece of software and tell us what we need to bolster our immune system etc

  10. A very interesting social media article was published on RTE.ie news site today. It describes some of the worrying mental side effects which can occur for example when people read on Facebook about the exciting holidays that their friends may have recently enjoyed. The research from which the article is based on indicates that one in three people felt worse after visiting the site.

    It gives plenty of food for thought that perhaps we are underestimating negative psychological impact that social media sites could be having on the lives of our family and friends.

    The article is titled “Facebook envy ‘can trigger feelings of misery'”

    Here is the link to the article.


  11. I’m actually sad to say i am a regular user of FB and i think it gives me glimmers of happiness at times and other times laughs because there is some fun stuff on there (friend’s jokes and comments on current topical affairs) but i find the majority of stuff on my FB feed is mainly pessimistic. It doesn’t deter me from going back time and time again though. Maybe i thrive or feed on others’ misfortune, would i be in the minority? I love hearing about happy stuff such as people announcing births, marriages and stuff, but they tend to not appear as much as deaths, anniversary of deaths, crimes of gbh, burglaries, animals being mistreated, cancer victims.
    Just my tuppence worth

    1. without going into too much detail…does anybody remember this story last year – there was also a doc on C4 which i watched – interesting how social media (FB/YouTube) where suggested as a possible “cause” of this mysterious illness….i’ve heard of viral but this takes the biscuit 🙂

      of interest though that all the you tube videos have been removed and/or blocked…

      i must say though that the documentary was quite sad and disturbing as there were some cases where the poor girls could not have been faking the “tics” and “tourette” symptons..
      the most convincing yet unproven theory was cause by an environmental issue….water, oil spill years previously, etc……


  12. Stephen I do remember it. I think it was called “The Town That Caught Tourette’s!” I must admit that in the beginning I was quite skeptical. Out of about 20 girls in total. There were two girls that were being treated on antibiotics one made a full recovery and the other girl had some infection which required ongoing treatment of antibiotics. Another girl was diagnosed with PANDAS which is also a bacterial infection. Even Erin Brockovich got in on the act and along with her team investigated other possible causes…. While some of the girls were treated by a group of Doctors for what they diagnosed as “mass hysteria”

    It’s crazy to think they all had the same symptoms!

    As the documentary unfolds it becomes clear that this is not a fake. There was one girl who was constantly covered with really bad bruising from ongoing seizures which would result in her losing consciousness. I really felt sorry for the girls and their families who were desperately seeking a cure or a diagnosis.

    The documentary ended without any solid conclusions as to how the situation developed or how it has been resolved so far.

    Has there been much research in the area of the affects of social media???

  13. this is a fairly cool product but a bit expensive at €200 but with any new tech it normally starts
    expensive and then comes down in price. I especially like the security feature of been able to turn on the lights when your not there.

  14. I think integration is important here, wireless lights controlled from your phone where you can choose from wide range of colours seems like a novelty which would fade quickly. On the other hand if the lights were integrated with a security system to activate in the event of an alarm or if they could be scheduled to cycle through patterns mimicing a person entering and exiting a number of rooms of a house to give the impression that someone is home when they are away perhaps the technology/product could be useful. Some may find statistics from wireless bulbs useful like how many hours in different periods of the year are the lights on for, how much power is consumed by all the bulbs in the house and what is the cost.

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