Stack's new smart bulb detects motion even through lampshades

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The Stack Classic LED

Stack Lighting

It's been a little over a year since Stack Lighting debuted its app-enabled, Nest-thermostat-compatible LED floodlights. Now, at the Lightfair 2016 lighting industry convention in San Diego, the California-based manufacturer is opening up preorders for a new smart bulb called the Stack Classic LED. During the preorder period, you'll be able to pick up a two-bulbs-and-a-hub starter pack for $89, with additional bulbs costing $28.

Built to replace the common A-shaped bulb, the Stack Classic LED offers the same integrations with Nest as Stack's original BR30 smart bulbs, and it uses the same ZigBee radio to communicate with the same plug-in hub. Sync that hub with the Stack app, and you'll be able to control the new bulbs alongside Stack's old ones right from your phone.

Aside from tapping the things on and off, dimming them up and down, and tuning the color temperature from warm tones to hot ones, those controls include timed lighting changes and automation settings. Thanks to the ambient light sensors built into each bulb, you can set them to automatically dim up and down as light levels change throughout the day.

Like the original Stack floodlights, the new Stack Classic LEDs will also track you as you come and go, using built-in motion detectors. However, unlike the original bulbs, the new Stack LEDs use tomographic sensors that are based on disturbances in transmitted radio frequencies (RF). Stack claims that this approach allows the lights to detect motion with greater precision -- even when the bulb is hidden behind a sconce or lampshade.

Stack also has plans to license that RF technology out to third parties through a "Stack Enabled" program. The only names on board so far are Lunera, Brilia and Plumen, a company that makes fancy-looking designer fixtures out of fluorescent light bulbs. Expect to see smart, Stack Enabled versions of those bulbs at some point in the future.

In addition to Nest, Stack's smart bulbs work with the online automation service IFTTT, which seems like a handy way of putting those motion-detecting smarts to use. A Stack Lighting representative tells me that the brand plans on adding voice controls in the future by way of Apple HomeKit and Amazon's Alexa, though there isn't a timetable for when that might happen.

As for the bulbs themselves, Stack expects preorders to start shipping by September 2016.

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Where to Buy

Stack Classic Smart LED Starter Kit

Part Number: CNETStack Classic Smart LED Starter Kit

MSRP: $89.00

Visit manufacturer site for details.