Just Flipping This Wireless Switch Is Enough to Power It

Illustration for article titled Just Flipping This Wireless Switch Is Enough to Power It

You might think that the humble light switch is so simple that it couldn't really evolve much further—but you'd be wrong. Because this wireless switch, designed to work with the new breed of wireless bulbs, can harvest all the energy it needs to function from a button press.


Developed by NXP, the switch uses NFC to pair wirelessly with a bulb. Then, every time you flip the rocker switch, you provide just enough energy to the system for it to send a signal to the bulb, switching it on or off. That means the light switches in your home could, in theory, be totally mobile and unconnected. Imagine how crazily convenient that could be.


NXP is currently offering up samples of the device to manufacturers, which means it could make its way into homes some time this year. [Engadget]

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My biggest beef with all of the new lighting tech (controls and lamps/fixtures) is that it is for the most part completely proprietary. If someone can take steps toward standardizing these things so that I can install a system somewhere and feel confident that in ten years I won't have to completely replace it, I would feel a lot better.

Take for example controls. Everyone's got their own protocol. Lutron would love to sell you all their whiz-bang wireless sensors, switches and ballasts, until you later learn that none of that stuff will play nice with your existing lighting or controls. Wattstopper has piezo wireless switches like these, but they only work with Wattstopper power packs. What happens when they develop a new product line and all this stuff you invested in is no longer compatible?

Whenever I ask reps questions like those, they always say the same thing: Our company has been in the industry for such and such years, we guarantee all our products for whatever period and you don't have to worry about that.

I know that all these digital addressable components are on a different level from, say, a magnetic low-voltage dimmer and transformer which are just simple components, but there needs to be a standard set which all manufacturers can follow.


DALI is a good start, and I wish more people supported it. However, it seems that it is more of a European thing and over here in the "land of opportunity" manufacturers are free to do what they please, and most choose to push customers into a proprietary solution.