Everyone’s trying to build a better light bulb. These days, that means things like adjustable colors and smart home connectivity — for most companies. Bay Area startup Soraa is skipping all the noise for the moment, instead making color its primary focus. For five years, the company’s been producing products for places like art galleries and hotels, where color balance is a big part of the experience.
In the past year, Soraa’s begun shifting toward the commercial market, in hopes of bringing some of that color knowledge to the home setting. As the company will point out every opportunity it gets, its founder, Dr. Shuji Nakamura, won a 2014 Nobel Prize for his LED tech, which shifts focus from blue to violet.
The company claims its Radiant bulbs have fewer color gaps than standard LEDs, offering a more accurate representation of color “as it is meant to be seen.” Anthony attended a product kick-off event for the company last night in Manhattan and smiled in the photo booth for the following two pictures.
The top uses Soraa’s Radiant bulbs and the bottom, standard LEDs. The Soraa shot certainly features a much more vivid purple background and just generally looks like the more well-lit of the two. To my eyes, the drearier bottom shot looks a little more “realistic” of the two, but maybe that says more about my own personal outlook on life than anything.
We walked away with one of the bulbs, so I’ll let you know if installing one in my apartment gives me a new lease on life. The bright purple world does seem to be the more fun one to live in.
The company’s other new Healthy bulb is an attempt to skip blue light entirely — that thing you’ve been hearing about in all those stories about how your iPad is screwing up your sleeping patterns. The long and short of it is that blue light impedes your body’s melatonin production and thus makes it hard to sleep. The Healthy bulb removes invisible blue light from the equation.
Along with the lack of smart functionality, neither bulb has a built-in ability to change colors. It’s not like the Healthy bulb slowly eliminates blue light as it gets close to bed time. Instead, you’ll probably want to save it for the bedside desk lamp you use when reading in bed.
The upshot of not having any of that advanced smart home functionality, incidentally, is that the bulbs are relatively reasonably priced, starting at $14 and $19, respectively. The prices go up from their, depending on the room you assign them to. The company is also looking into bringing some smart functionality to the table, moving forward.
The bulbs are available through Soraa’s site and Amazon. Not Home Depot, though. “No disrespect,” the company’s chief product officer told TechCrunch at last night’s event, “but if I’m in the lighting aisle at Home Depot, I’ve already lost.”
Additional reporting and photo booth modeling by Anthony Ha.