There will come a time when our homes are completely automated, just like in several horror movies in which a house slowly murders its unsuspecting occupant. The Insteon is a pretty good step towards that inevitable murder--it's the first LED lightbulb that you can control with a smartphone app.
Lots of LED bulbs have some kind of remote triggering--I've been using the GiiNii speaker-in-a-bulb lately, which can be controlled with a little remote--but this is the first we've seen to have a smartphone app. You can trigger each lightbulb independently with an app (compatible with iOS and Android)--your phone talks to a base station, which talks to the lightbulbs. And for the system to really be worth the cost, you'll want to outfit your whole house in these things. The bulbs cost $30 each (which is not too bad; LED bulbs last for decades and even the current best LED bulb on the market runs $25), but the real cost is the $100 Insteon SmartLinc Controller you'll need to buy if you want to hook up devices like smartphones.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.