Get Notified in Style: Aqara’s New Matter Ceiling Light Features a Notification Indicator Ring

Why slide into someone’s DMs when you could quite literally ‘light up their life’? Aqara’s IFA 2023 showcase includes a slew of products, but its most noteworthy is a Matter-enabled ceiling light that features a glowing outer ring that lights up when you get a notification. Now, it’s important to note that the light’s outer ring doesn’t necessarily connect to apps on your phone (although an update would enable this), but rather to other smart devices around your house. In theory, the individually addressable outer LED ring could shine to let you know if there’s a leak in the bathroom, if the door’s open, or if there’s a pest/intruder in your backyard. The central disc of the Ceiling Light T1M features a range of 16 million different colors, and can be used as your conventional smart home light for lighting your space, setting the mood, or just working as a night lamp while you do a midnight fridge raid.

Aqara, known for its Zigbee-supported products, claims that its ceiling light has low power consumption during idle periods and is compatible with Matter-over-bridge. Although pricing and availability details have not been disclosed by Aqara, the light’s unique feature of an independently addressable ring sets it apart from other smart ceiling lights like those in the Hue lineup.

Designer: Aqara

As a part of its IFA 2023 lineup, the company has also unveiled the Camera E1, a new indoor security camera that boasts a 2K resolution and supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. While it may not be Matter-enabled, this pan and tilt camera is still compatible with various smart home platforms such as Apple Home, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home. It comes equipped with AI-powered features like person detection and tracking, and offers multiple storage options including microSD cards, cloud storage, and network-attached storage (NAS).

There’s also the Matter-over-Thread smart lock — an efficient smart lock that eliminates the need for lock replacement. The Smart Lock U200, Aqara mentions, seamlessly operates with your existing cylinders, saving you the hassle of drilling or door modifications. This advanced innovation offers various unlocking methods, including Aqara’s NFC card (or an NFC-enabled device), fingerprint verification, and PIN codes. While the exact product availability is undisclosed, Aqara plans to launch it on Kickstarter later this year.

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These Matter-enabled modular cube lights are perfect for gaming, music, and smart-home setups

I appreciate when products are functional and no-nonsense at the same time. What else do I say about a modular, multi-functional set of cube-based lights that are quite simply called Cube? Meet the Yeelight Cubes, a set of magnetic, modular, and IoT-controlled lights that can be used for a variety of scenarios. Whether you’re a gamer or YouTuber looking to RGB-ify your space, a film nerd who’d like a backlight for your TV so your wall can color-match your movies, an audiophile who wants his room’s lighting to vibe to his music selection, or just an IoT enthusiast who wants to tinker with modular lights to build out different smart home products, the Cube’s laundry-list of features has something for you. With three cube variants – a Matrix Cube or text and symbols, a Panel Cube for lights and gradients, and a Spotlight Cube for shining light on surfaces like your wall, the Yeelight Cubes give you the ability to build out your lighting rig. Each cube comes with a modular design featuring pogo pin connectors and magnets that let you snap cubes together. A base unit lets you connect your creation to a power source, and mobile and desktop apps give you immense amounts of control over your newly built lighting setup. See? Functional and no-nonsense…

Designer: Yeelight

Click Here to Buy Now: $198 $310 (36% off) Standard Kit with 4 Matrix Cubes + 1 Panel Cube + 1 Spotlight Cube + 1 Base & Adapter
Hurry! Just 7 days left!

The Yeelight Cubes are both customizable and incredibly capable, with their ability to transform into just the kind of light you’re looking for. The standard bundle of cubes comes with 4 matrix cubes, a panel cube, and a spotlight cube (like the setup shown above), letting you build out basic tools like a clock, music equalizer, notification machine, or any other type of device you want. Add additional cubes to the mix and you can get even more complex with your creations, building out 8-bit signboards, massive RGB ambient lights, or an entire discotheque setup that responds in real time to the music you play. That cheap Tiktok sunset lamp has nothing on the Cube’s dynamism and range of possibilities.

The three cubes form the framework for the Yeelight modular system. Like if LEGO met light!

What makes these lights more interesting than your average household LED bulb is their ability to be just the kind of lights you want them to be. Not only do you get to snap them together piece by piece to build the arrangement you need, you can activate/toggle them in a variety of ways. If you’re looking for just ambient colors, there’s a bunch of themes on the app. A DIY painter lets you paint each individual pixel on the Matrix block, and smartphone and desktop apps let you configure the Cube lights to work just how you want them to. Moreover, the Yeelight Cubes are IoT-ready and Matter-compatible, which means they can integrate into your smart home ecosystem of Matter-enabled products, and can be even activated via voice commands.

Immensely configurable thanks to its desktop Yeelight Station program and the smartphone app, the Yeelight Cubes can be programmed to do things like mirror the colors on your monitor/screen, react to music playing on your smart speakers, or even respond to your gameplay by connecting to it through programs like Razer Chroma or Overwolf. The smartphone app lets you tap into a variety of presets and dynamic themes, including giving you the ability to customize color and LED-paint the Cubes with your own colors, gradients, and shapes. The app even gives you simple controls to turn your Cube arrays into table clocks, calendars, and more.

Setting up your Cubes are a breeze as they simply snap and orient just the way you want them to. Given their power requirements, you can snap a maximum of 6 cubes to one base unit and plug them into an outlet. Any additional cubes will require an extra base and a secondary power outlet. You can then hop onto the Yeelight Station desktop app or the smartphone app to set your modules up to behave the way you want, or integrate them with your smart-home thanks to its Matter certification. Compliance with the Matter IoT standard makes the Yeelight Cube compatible with home assistants like Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Home Assistant, and more. The Yeelight Cubes run Bluetooth 5.1 and 2,4GHz WiFi to give them their broad connectivity.

Unlike other smart light solutions from brands like Nanoleaf, Govee, or Philips Hue, the Yeelight Cubes boast a kind of versatility and modularity that’s difficult to achieve otherwise. With matrix, panel, and even spotlight cube variants, you can achieve any kind of light-based setup you’re looking for, and with Matter compatibility, your Yeelight Cube setup becomes a part of your smart-home experience, so you can fire up responsive disco-lights while listening to Miley Cyrus’ 80’s inspired hit Flowers, or a backlight for your desktop monitor while you play Elden Ring or while you watch movies and documentaries online.

The Yeelight Cube comes as a $198 bundle of 6 lights, including 4 matrix cubes, a panel cube, and a spotlight cube, along with the connector base and power adapter. Individual add-on cubes can be added to your pledge for a price.

Click Here to Buy Now: $198 $310 (36% off) Standard Kit includes 4x Dot Matrix Cube + 1x Panel Cube + 1x Spotlight Cube + 1x Base & Adapter
Hurry! Just 7 days left!

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Apple just announced the 2nd Gen HomePod, now with Matter support

Outwardly, there’s absolutely no difference between the 2nd Gen HomePod and its predecessor, which was discontinued in 2021. However, on the internals and software front, the new speaker has Apple’s S7 chip with support for Spatial Audio and compliance with the Matter smart-things protocol. The new HomePod now even has temperature and humidity sensors built-in, making it a little more useful than its ancestor… while also being $50 cheaper at just $299.

Designer: Apple

It seems odd that Apple would revive the HomePod after conveniently killing it in 2021 to prioritize the HomePod Mini. However, the fact that Apple’s pushing the smart-home angle with automations, a temperature + humidity sensor, sound detection (for alarms), and Matter compatibility probably indicates the much bigger picture here. Siri was never really Apple’s strongest suit (and Amazon even admitted that Alexa was an overall failure), but the smart home market seems to have gotten a revival with the rise of Matter protocol, which helps unite all compatible IoT devices under a single universal standard.

Other (existing) features are the ability to play music through the speaker simply by tapping your phone on it, using it as an intercom, and pairing two HomePods together for a stereo setup. The HomePod, however, now can sense where it’s in the room and automatically adjust its audio output to provide the best sound quality. There’s even support for Spatial Audio, which allows the HomePod to mimic a 5.1-channel home theater.

The HomePod 2nd Gen will be available starting February, for $299.

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SwitchBot’s latest Hub 2 uses Matter to standardize and integrate all your IoT smart devices

Your smart home just got a lot more smarter. At CES 2023, SwitchBot just announced the Hub 2, their Wi-Fi-based smart-home accessory that communicates with SwitchBot’s products, letting you integrate them in a way that makes your home and life smarter. The Hub 2 is SwitchBot’s first product to now operate using the Matter protocol, which helps unite IoT devices under a single universal standard.

The new Matter protocol makes the Hub 2 even more powerful, allowing it to seamlessly connect to and communicate between different IoT devices from different manufacturers running different software. The Hub 2 now lets your smart lights work together with your smart curtain and your smart door lock to be operated by your smart speaker, regardless of which AI assistant it runs.

Designer: Woan Technology (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd.

Wondering what Matter is? Well, think about it this way – an Apple smart speaker can’t necessarily communicate with an Alexa-enabled smart light, right? Similarly, your Apple and Google devices aren’t cross-compatible, making setting up a smart home incredibly difficult because each device from a different manufacturer speaks a different language. If all devices speak multiple incompatible languages, Matter is like the universal language that allows all your devices to communicate. Matter is like music, the truly universal language.

The Hub 2 is SwitchBot’s gradual yet highly anticipated foray into the Matter-compatible smart home universe. SwitchBot holds the mantle for making some of the most innovative award-winning products that turn regular experiences into smart ones. The SwitchBot Curtain allows you to open and close your curtains based on alarms or voice commands. The SwitchBot Lock takes the single deadbolt lock on your main door and turns it into a smart lock that can either be opened with your phone or your Apple Watch. With the Hub 2, now your SwitchBot devices (and even other smart home gadgets) can all be controlled by a centralized system, whether it’s your Apple Home or Google Home, or a bunch of other smart home systems. Moreover, the Hub 2’s built-in thermo-hygrometer function lets you also check your home’s temperature and humidity either on the Hub 2’s integrated display or within Apple Home, and two Scene keys on the front of the Hub let you trigger presets and shortcuts for your SwitchBot devices like the Curtain or the SwitchBot Bot (which uses a robotic arm to flip switches on or off).

The Hub 2 is just the beginning of SwitchBot’s journey to smart-home dominance. As the Hub 2 now complies with the Matter standard, SwitchBot will gradually have all its IoT products be compatible with Matter. The company announced that the SwitchBot Curtain will be the first to support Matter via an OTA update sometime in February or March. “Other SwitchBot products will be able to support Matter in sequence throughout this year,” the company said.

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Scientists find the universe’s ‘missing matter’ using mysterious cosmic bursts

Thanks to some pretty rigorous scientific calculations, researchers have long been able to determine how much matter there was in the universe when the Big Bang happened. The problem — until now — is that they couldn’t actually find half of what is s...