Beta Yourself Philips Hue
You’ve got smart bulbs but all you do is turn them on and off from your bed? Stuff ’s resident bright spark Mark Wilson is here to light up your life with these illuminating Hue tips
Light up your world with these smart tips
THE BASICS Make a scene
Philips Hue ‘scenes’ are presets for its colour bulbs. The app has some built-in options but you can create your own. Tap on one of your rooms, press ‘Scenes’, then tap the ‘+’ icon in the bottom right corner. Choose ‘Picture scene’ and you’ll get the option of choosing a photo from your camera roll to recreate a mood from a cherished memory.
Scrap the schedules
To get your lights in tune with your movements, go to ‘Routines’, then ‘Home & Away’, then press the ‘Location aware’ switch. Now you can decide which lights go on when you’re coming home or leaving, and if they should only come on after sunset.
Rise and shine
You can time your bedroom Hue lights to slowly wake you up in the morning, and also gently lull you to sleep at night. Head to ‘Routines’ and either ‘Wake up’ or ‘Go to sleep’. Press the ‘+’ button to create a schedule for them to slowly ‘fade in’ or ‘fade out’ (making sure to leave out the weekend, if it’s your work plan) and press save.
Talk to your lights
To connect your Hue lights to an Amazon Echo, enable the Hue skill in the Alexa app, then go to ‘Discover devices’. The app will then import your scenes, letting you sing out phrases like “Alexa, turn on ‘relax’ in the bedroom”. For Google Home, go to the main menu in the top left corner in the Home app, followed by ‘Home control’, then press ‘+’ to add devices.
Make it rain
Download Thunderstorm (from £2.79 / IOS, Android) for Hue and gain god-like control over your smart light storm, as your Hue bulbs flicker and flash in time with convincing sound effects. You can choose which bulbs to include, set a sleep timer for the storm to conveniently pass, and even add background sounds like chirping cicadas.
BRIGHT IDEAS Get the party started
Hue Disco (from £2.99 / IOS, Android) picks up the music in the room through your phone’s microphone and turns it into some colourful, customisable strobe effects.
Make a real entrance
The location-aware IFTTT applet at bit.ly/hueentrance lets you pinpoint your home’s location on a map, and then every time you enter that zone your Hue lights will cycle through an array of colours. It’s like you’re coming home to a surprise party, even if you only plan to crash on the couch and watch TV.
SCREEN SCENES Get super-ambilight
Got a Philips Ambilight TV? Get your Hue lights to change in sync with its colourful tune. Download the Ambilight+hue app (£free / IOS, Android) and enter your TV’S IP address from its network settings menu. Then choose which lights you want to link, and enjoy your personal Odeon.
Monitor the colours
If your computer’s feeling left out of the Ambilight party, the free download Screenbloom (screenbloom.com) can pair it with your Hue bulbs and lightstrips to recreate a similar effect to Philips’ glowing TVS.
IFTTT YOUR SPIRITS Your Uber has landed
The applet at bit.ly/hueuber will blink your Hue lights when the Uber driver has arrived. That visual notification might catch your eye in time to stop your driver waking the street with a blaring horn-honk.
Ready for kick-off
Another IFTTT applet at bit.ly/hueespn can make your bulbs flash a certain colour any time your team begins a match, giving you the signal to turn on the TV before you miss a goal.
Hue knows when you are sleeping
If you have a Fitbit that you wear to bed, you can link your Fitbit account to your Hue bulbs via the IFTTT applet at bit.ly/huefitbit – and the bulbs will turn on as soon as the band detects that you’ve woken up.
BETA BONUSES Baffle the burglars
Huelabs’ ‘presence mimicking’ recipe engages lights so that it appears you’re at home when you’re not. You can custom-set which lights come on when, and they’ll still turn on at your usual times for coming home, getting ready for bed and so on.
Don’t get overcooked
Banish those clanging timer alarms from your life and set a visual trigger instead using the Huelabs cooking timer recipe. It lets you set quick alarms within the Hue app and then get a flashing light when your meal is ready.