Smart lighting has been a popular topic for years already. From the clapper sound activated On/Off switch to professional and highly expensive home automation solutions. The more features a solution has, the more complicated and user-unfriendly it often gets. Truly simple Plug & Play solutions on the other hand, are often very primitive in their range of functions. So it is a balancing act between a number of features, simplicity, and price.
A simple example, if you want to control multiple lights at the same time, they must be connected to some sort of a hub or router. Most solutions require both, a central hub to talk to the lights and a router as a bridge between hub and smartphone or PC. This is where it can get complicated for many people. But does it have to be like that?
This question brought us to the idea of MESHLE — a technology that allows devices to build so-called mesh network via Bluetooth. In other words, each light is a Bluetooth hotspot that you can connect to any mobile device. Every light “sees” its adjacent light and is able to pass information from one to another. The benefit is clear, no need for any extra hardware like a hub or router and as a side effect, you get a better signal reception.
Our first product based on this technology is a controller for standard RGB strips — MESHLE flex.
An RGB strip is a very popular product, but it comes with a relatively large controller and an infrared remote control. While this is clearly a very cheap solution, it highly reduces the comfort of its use, and limits the application possibilities of RGB strips. Here is why:
- Controller is relatively large
- Controller has to be placed within sight of the IR remote control
- Each controller needs its own IR remote control
- IR remote control has a low distance range
- Controller has very limited features
Most RGB strips that are sold on Amazon or eBay have a standard 4-pin connector:
We developed a controller that has the same connector and includes a good piece of smart software inside of a little box:
“MESHLE flex doesn’t depend on any other hardware and yet it can work in the network of multiple controllers.”
MESHLE flex is a smart Bluetooth RGB controller with network capability. There is no need for Wi-Fi or extra hardware like a hub or router, and you can still control a network of RGB strips with your smartphone.
Just to make it clear, MESHLE flex is not just another Bluetooth controller that you can get from Alibaba or AliExpress. Remember that neat technology we were talking about at the beginning? With MESHLE flex every RGB strip becomes a Bluetooth hotspot, any additional RGB strip with MESHLE flex within the range of another connects to it automatically and creates a network. You can connect as many controllers as you want. Now you can control multiple RGB strips at the same time with your smartphone.
MESHLE flex works with 5–12V power supply. With the right adapter and 5V-RGB strip, it can be powered by USB.
⚠️ But be careful: Never power RGB strips longer than 50cm by USB — it might damage your USB port.⚠️
MESHLE flex is also water resistant and suitable for use outside: in your garden, car, boat, motorhome, while camping or for the pool.
Now think how simple it becomes to set up smart lighting without hubs and routers. You just connect the controller to the strip and power supply, download the app and you are ready to go to use smart features! What features, you might ask?
Full control over 16 million colors
MESHLE app allows you to precisely set the hue and the brightness of one or multiple RGB strips. Choose out of dozens of dynamic lighting themes or create your own.
Colorful light animations, that can be individually created or picked from the library. Whether it’s a slow change of the hue to change the atmosphere, or the flashing energizing lights to the excite a mood. Everything is possible.
Make RGB strips sound reactive. Let your phone listen to the music and animate the lights accordingly.
Use timers to turn on or off the lights at particular times of the day or week.
You can program your controller to wake you up gently — the light will slowly fill the room. Or use it as a nightlight for your kids and let it automatically turn off after a certain amount of time.
A Few Examples Of MESHLE flex In Action:
Another really cool feature of MESHLE flex is that you can upgrade its firmware with your smartphone. Many people asked us already, if there will be an integration with Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, Home Assistant or Google Home. While we can not do everything at once, the ability to update controllers over the air allows us to bring new features for the firmware with the future updates.
As mentioned earlier, the right balance between the number of features, simplicity, and price is hard to achieve.
We don’t claim MESHLE flex to be the cheapest product or a product with the most number of features — it is simply a healthy mix of great functions, affordable price and ease of use. Neither will it obligate you to buy RGB strips of a particular brand. As a result, you will be getting a smart lighting solution at a much lower price, cheaper than other comparable systems currently on the market.
And for those of you who love to code, we will provide the Linux API to give your ideas the absolute freedom.
As previously mentioned, MESHLE flex is just the first product of the MESHLE family. We are currently working on prototypes of smart bulbs and sensors. Devices based on Bluetooth mesh technology have a very bright future. Bluetooth announced this summer to support this type of network technology. Therefore, we expect many other manufacturers to develop great products that will be compatible with each other.