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Let there be lights: Crowd-funded lighting campaigns

Here's a list of crowd-sourced home lighting projects I'm really excited about. Some of these campaigns are fully funded, while others are still soliciting pledges. Have a favorite? Let me know in the comments section.

Alva LED lamps This Kickstarter campaign still has 10 days to go, and it has nearly doubled its original $12,000 funding goal. This design team crafts custom-blown glass LED lamps that look a lot like original Edison bulbs. They wanted to merge thoughtful design and modern lighting technology; I think the company achieved its goal. You can pledge a minimum of $1, … Read more

Iron Man arm lamp gives you a light-up superhero hand

Tony Stark may use the repulsor units on the hands of his Iron Man suit to help him fly around and fight, but Sergio Oliveira has found a different use for them. Oliveira's Iron Man arm lamp is a one-of-a-kind task light suitable for brightening up the work space of any superhero fan.

Unlike the repulsor from Iron Man's armor, the lamp version isn't likely to blast the papers right off your desk. What makes this lamp even better is that it's not a fresh-off-the-assembly-line arm. It's a battle-worn, scarred-surface arm. It looks like it's been through a few rounds with Whiplash.… Read more

Unique Lumio lamp disguises itself as a book

There are two meanings for illumination: light and knowledge. As such, a lamp that looks like a book seems apropos -- and Lumio by San Francisco architect and industrial designer Max Gunawan immediately appeals.

When you open its cover, a concertina crafted to resemble the pages acts as a filter for the bright LEDs inside.

It's not just a pretty face, though. Like a book, it's portable, its lithium ion rechargeable with a discreet charging port hidden in the spine. Because it's lit with LEDs, its power consumption is low, lasting up to 8 hours. Neodymium magnets in the cover mean you can stick it to metal surfaces, and the wooden cover is flexible for a variety of configurations. … Read more

Smart LED desk lamp is sensitive to your moods

The day of the single-purpose gadget is rapidly fading. You can't just have a phone that you use to talk to other people. It has to do 50 other things. You can't just have a desk lamp that lights up your desk. You have to have one that charges your phone and gives you mood lighting, too.

The Satechi Smart LED Desk Lamp tries to fit as much functionality in as it can. It charges smartphones and has a built-in timer to power it off. It's also very touchy-feely. It's controlled through a touch panel and has different lighting modes to fit your mood.… Read more

Real-life Pixar lamp wants to play hide-and-seek

When I see a cute critter like Fizzgig or an Ewok in a movie, I want to take it home with me. I get the same feeling when I see Pixar's sweet Luxo Jr. lamp mascot. It's like a little metal puppy you want to hold on your lap and take care of.

The sprightly lamp has now hopped out of the screen and into the real world thanks to a project created at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand by Adam Ben-Dror, Joss Doggett, and Shanshan Zhou. This lamp is black, rather than white like Luxo Jr. The project is called Pinokio and the lamp is imaginatively named "Lamp."

Pinokio uses six servos, a Webcam, and Arduino to track human faces, play hide-and-seek, hear sounds, and try really hard to get your attention.… Read more

LED desk lamp wirelessly charges smartphones

One of the fascinating things about living in this era is observing how everyday products can become far more useful with a little infusion of technology.

Konica Minolta today debuted a desk lamp with an ace up its sleeve: it features a built-in induction charging pad for devices that support the Qi wireless charging standard (such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and many other products). It appears to be the first of its kind. … Read more

Action figures immortalized in artsy lamps

Take a look at this eccentric array of action figure lamps by U.K. firm Evil Robot Designs. They feature painted pint-size superstars from geeky films, video games, and comic books.

Each of the six lamps in the collection has an ear-catching name like Alien Nation and Forbidden Planet. It would take paragraphs to list all the characters integrated into the 2-foot fixtures, but some notables (not mentioned in the photo captions) include Mysterio; Green Goblin; evil xenomorphs from the "Alien" movie series; He-Man; Bunnygirl "Suzumiya Haruhi"; and many more. … Read more

DIY Weekend: Shining a new light on an old video game classic

For Bryan Duxbury and Adam Ellsworth, a shared interest in DIY Arduino projects and a conversation at a Christmas party led to a pretty bright idea and an unexpected side business.

The two San Francisco residents are the creators of the Interactive 8bit Question Block lamp--a Super Mario Bros.-inspired piece of home decor. For fans of the game, the lamp should instantly look familiar, as it resembles the blocks that Mario hits to earn coins and other loot. The design alone already makes it pretty cool, but that's not where the fun ends.

To turn the light on or off, you must punch (actually, a gentle tap is enough and recommended) the bottom of the block, and every time you do so, it makes a coin sound just like in the video game. On every eighth tap, you're rewarded with the 1-Up sound. It's a piece of Super Mario Bros. come to life.

This project may never have seen the light of day, however, had it not been for a chance meeting at a company Christmas party. … Read more

Heat lamp for home use

There is no denying the deliciousness of much takeaway food. First of all, many might say the convenience alone ups the flavor factor. Certainly every maker of microwaveable food would agree. But there is more to it than that: Since the beginning of comfort food itself, people have tried to capture that elusive essence that can make a meal felt down to the bones. (And not just the ribs either.) No, the common quality is not necessarily fat (although we all know that equals flavor) or freedom from the kitchen; the elements that all comfort foods have in common are … Read more

Crave 23: Hipster depot (podcast)

Tune in this week to get a glimpse at the biggest iPhone you've ever seen, as well as a sun-demanding keyboard that may scare away gamers but lures Donald with promises of UV-ray disinfection. Also on deck: an old-fashioned camera fitting of shelf space at the fictional Hipster Depot; some "Tron" wallpaper that won't scare away girls quite as quickly as satin black sheets (according to Jasmine, anyway); and a lamp concept the NRA is sure to get behind. Plus, we get up close and personal with an itty-bitty boombox and speak our piece on some cheapo but neato Star Wars earbuds. Finally, don't miss out on the ooey, gooey orange cheesy dish that's clogging arteries this week. (Also: Go Giants!)

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