PAINTING WITH LIGHT
Austria-based Luke Roberts uses Onshape to create the FLUXO, the world’s first smart design lamp allowing you to move light in any direction
Luke Roberts is a startup company developing smart design lamps that match intelligence with style. Controlled with a mobile app, the smart lamps remember usage patterns, store personalized "light scenes," and can direct colored light in multiple directions.
Industry: Consumer Products
Industry: Consumer Products
I can use Onshape anywhere. I regularly travel to Germany and Switzerland and sometimes use it at the airport while I’m waiting for a flight. I can pretty much work everywhere I take my laptop.
Robert Kopka, Luke Roberts
Dimmers are so 2015.
If you’re a fan of mood lighting, Luke Roberts wants to give you more control over your lamps than ever. Instead of turning a knob and adjusting your preferred level of brightness, the designer FLUXO pendant lamp lets you turn your living room into a professional-looking lighting studio.
Billed as "the world’s smartest lamp," the FLUXO can "paint" multi-colored lights in any direction using the touchscreen on a mobile phone. Controlling 300 independent LED lights, the lamp can make some parts of the room bright while leaving other parts subdued. Favorite "light scenes" can be stored in an app and be recreated with a quick swipe of the screen. The FLUXO also learns its users’ lighting preferences and automatically displays them when they walk into the room.
"You can have light scenes that are perfect for dinner, perfect for watching TV, perfect for reading, etc.," says Luke Roberts co-founder Robert Kopka. "You’ve never been able to do this before. You used to have to control several different lamps to have these kind of scenes."
"With the phasing out of incandescent bulbs, you have to switch to LEDs and the large lighting manufacturers have just been replicating bulbs with LEDs. But that doesn’t really make sense," he adds. "We wanted to create something new. LEDs are very small and you can put a lot of them in the lamp and control them, not always having them on full power."
Based in Austria, Luke Roberts is aiming the FLUXO at technology enthusiasts who also appreciate design. At a retail price of €500–€700 ($540 - $760), Kopka points out that the lamp replaces the need for multiple lamps to create the same effect.
"If you’re really into design lamps, you can easily spend 2,000 or 3,000 euros for a lamp that was made in a small town somewhere in Italy," he says. "They look really pretty, but you can only turn them on and off. That’s it. We thought there must be a way to make something smarter and more affordable."
If FLUXO’s recent Kickstarter campaign is any indication, there is a pent-up demand for stylish, phone-controlled mood lighting. Luke Roberts raised more than €400,000, eight times their original €50,000 goal.
Onshape Speeds Up the Design Process
To create their signature smartlamp, Luke Roberts chose Onshape, the first full-cloud professional 3D CAD system that enables multiple people to simultaneously work on the same design.
"We’ve got one large model and I’m working on one part and (co-founder) Lukas is working on another part. When I've got troubles with something, I just shoot him an email and say ‘Hey, please take a look at that and tell me what's wrong.’ That works really well for us," Kopka says. "We don’t have to exchange files by email or Dropbox. He can just login and call me up afterwards."
Because Onshape runs in a web or mobile browser, the design team can access their work on any computer, phone or tablet. There is no longer a need to buy the latest souped-up desktop powerful enough to run CAD.
"I really like that it’s online. That’s a big advantage for us," Kopka says. "We’re using Google Docs and Google Analytics and Gmail. The rest of our work life is already in a browser, so we thought ‘Let’s give this a try.’"
"I can use Onshape anywhere. I regularly travel to Germany and Switzerland and sometimes I even use it at the airport while I’m waiting for a flight," he adds. "I can pretty much work everywhere I take my laptop. Lukas and I are not always in the same office, so this really helps us stay on schedule."
Onshape is Perfect for Startups
Kopka says he found Onshape’s monthly Professional Plan to be far more budget friendly for a startup company than paying $5,000 (€4,563) upfront for a traditional CAD license. Onshape includes automatic upgrades and feature enhancements in the cloud every few weeks versus having to wait a year for new improvements with a desktop-installed CAD system.
"Everything we save goes into prototype development," he notes. "At this stage, every euro makes a difference."
According to Kopka, the learning curve for picking up Onshape was quick, especially since he and his partner had prior experience with SolidWorks.
"Onshape is intuitive and really easy to use. Both of us already knew the basics of CAD, but with the training videos and Help Center, it was really easy to get started," he says. "We were up and running in a day or two."
The Help button is located at the top right-hand corner within every Onshape Document. In addition, a built-in Feedback tool allows users to markup screenshots of problem areas, add comments, and click "Send" to submit requests to Customer Support. Onshape provides email updates on each ticket’s status and notifies users when their issue is resolved.
"Customer Support has been very responsive. I’ve been pleased to see there is somebody behind the product who really cares about our business," Kopka says. "I can just shoot Onshape an email and have confidence our problems will be addressed soon. That hasn’t always been my experience with other companies."
As for the FLUXO, the first group of early adopters are expected to be "painting with light" in August 2016. The company plans to release preset "Dynamic Light Scenes" including sunrise, sunset and party mode (with changing colors of indirect light).
Manufactured in Europe, the FLUXO was also the Silver Award winner at the 2015 London Design Awards.