I am really surprised that a year has gone past and there is practically speaking no change. I am aware of the Pop home switch, but its really not the thing I think most users want.
Here is what I have in mind:
Its essentially like an LiFx bulb, has the same WiFi and Communications infrastructure. You can discover it in the app too, and when you do the app allows you to place it in a group. The group contains at minimum 1 bulb and 1 dimmer but may also contain several bulbs and several dimmers. If we wanted to get fancy we could allocate weather it was colour, brightness, or both at once we wanted to change. This information is sent to each dimmer on exit from that part of the app.
The device itself has a shaft encoder, (that can turn infinately in either direction) and possibly a button. So you push the knob to toggle a switch and otherwise can turn completely fully in one direction. If you want to get fancy, it could have a break so that the knob becomes harder to turn in 1 direction when the bulb is on max or min - thats a nice to have touch feedback but not essential.
When you turn the knob clockwise the device fetches state of each bulb and then increments and sends by the amount turned. counterclockwise decrements. The state is only interrogated after a pause. Each lamp in the group has its own brightness sent to it. Its not likely to work right if two dimmers change the brightness at the same time but we can live with that. But unless you are playing a modern version of that game where you stand at the bottom of the stairs and your child stands at the top and you both try to convince the other that the 2-way switch is broken by switching it exactly when they do… but then that would be that would be too much fun!
Now the reason it would be so much better if LiFx did this than me, is because for this to “feel good” latency should be at a minimum and using the existing LiFx radio structure would likely be faster. The reason we cannot handle two people using 2 dimmers at once is because we cannot send atomic incremental commands, only absolute values and also its UDP so a few commands may get lost. But it would still be really good.
I want to kit out my house with LiFx bulbs but I dont want my guests children and everyone else having to download an app. I also dont want them messing with lights in my room when they are in another room. The normal thing is you change the brightness and/or colour of the lights in the room you are in.
So the toggle/switch on the knob? Well, that just uses software to switch the lamp on and off. I’d like this in 2 versions - battery and mains wire in replacement, but the battery version is probably not possible. The wire in replacement should fit in the space of a normal switch and if we have to provide live and neutral so be it. (Some switches do not have the neutral in them, just the interrupted live, as we intend to put the switch in always on mode, we will need the neutral. )
Now lets consider safety. What if you need to change the bulb socket? Switch of the electricity at the board = you should do that anyway. Change the bulb. Well that doesn’t happen often and so we can say that you should also switch of the electricity at the board in that case too. Or live dangerously & change the bulb live. I am not going to sayy that tho. Lastly, what do you do if your router fails, this could leave you with no lights! Two possiblities. Either you turn the electrity off at the board and on again, the lamp will come on with at least 25% brightness, you cannot turn it off but maybe thats not a big issue until your router is fixed. Or we make the knob toggle button work as an actual light switch (configurable depending on how you connect) then you are covered against router failure completely.
So LiFx, pretty please, would you make this? You will wipe the floor with your bulbs (well even more!!) and people will kit out their whole house with bulbs not just 4 or 5 as at present so this is massive for LiFx.
You still won’t do it? It would be pretty hard (But not impossible) to do this with non-LiFx kit. And you dont get the full integration you would have otherwise. I’m a software Engineer. Perls my thing but I can do most languages. So send me a development kit and sign me up, and I’ll develop it!
The world needs this. I need this gadget. I need a job(!). LiFx needs this. And so, particularly do LiFx shareholders!