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Light Bulbs

Luke Roberts Smart Lamp 'paints' light in any direction you like

It isn't cheap, but keep an eye on this color-changing hanging fixture from Austrian startup Luke Roberts.

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The Luke Roberts Smart Lamp.

Chris Monroe/CNET

It seems like color-changing smart lights are everywhere you look at CES, but a $700 hanging lamp from an Austrian startup I've never heard of before still managed to catch my eye.

That Vienna-based startup is named Luke Roberts, and its smart lamp is called, fittingly enough, the Luke Roberts Smart Lamp (it was originally called "Fluxo," but it hit a trademark issue shortly before launch). It's an Indiegogo success that lets you cast light of any color in any direction by picking a shade in the companion app, then swiping your finger across your phone's screen like a paint brush.

Though it isn't cheap, it's a pretty impressive product with plenty of color-changing horsepower. Inside are over 300 light-emitting diodes -- for comparison, a color-changing Philips Hue LED only has a few dozen. The lamp's co-creators, Lukas Pilat and Robert Kopka (get it?) claim that it will put out 2,000 lumens of full-color light above the fixture, and another 3,000 lumens of white light that gets cast downward.

You can "paint" the lamp's light across specific parts of the room using its companion app.

Chris Monroe/CNET

You can pick and choose where that light goes, too. If you only want light in one spot of the room, just swipe in that direction on your phone. If you want red light on one side of the room and blue light on the other side, you can do that, too.

The obvious question is whether or not this lamp will work with any larger smart home platforms, especially since it's meant to play such a central role in your home. The lamp uses Bluetooth LE to connect with your phone, which limits its range, but that wouldn't keep it from connecting to a Bluetooth-compatible hub.

Compatibility with Apple HomeKit is another possibility. HomeKit is the set of smart home protocols built into iPhones and iPads, and compatible devices enjoy native, unified controls in Apple's Home app, along with Siri voice controls. HomeKit already has a couple of Bluetooth gadgets to its name (and can even use Apple TV to extend their range outside of the home), and it's already been shown to work especially well with color-changing lights like Philips Hue and Nanoleaf Aurora. It's this lamp's optimal landing spot.

Still, I want to see it finish shipping out to its surplus of backers, first. The lamp's creators tell me that they're on track to meet that goal in March. Until then, units are available for preorder at a discounted price that comes out to about $500 (or £410/AU$690, converted roughly).

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