Philips Adds Motion Sensor to Smart Lighting Options

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Automatic smart lighting just got a lot easier.

Philips has a new motion sensor that lets you control Philips Hue lights without using a smartphone or switch. This could be useful when you enter your house with your hands full of groceries, or when you wake up in the middle of the night and don't want to fumble around for your phone. Battery-powered and wireless, the small square box fits anywhere in your home; just walk by to flip on lights.

Philips Hue Motion  SensorMeasuring just 2.17 inches across and 0.79 inches thick, the sensor can fit in out-of-reach places. During a demo, the Hue sensor was placed atop a picture frame high on the wall, where it still detected my presence. You can wall mount the sensor with a sticky pad, set of screws, or magnetically to a metal surface, and you can adjust the viewing angle 30 degrees horizontally or vertically. It has a detection range of up to 16 feet and a 100-degree detection angle in all directions. Reaction time is immediate—less than a second. There's no built-in camera.

With the Philips Hue app, you can set the motion sensor to trigger specific scenes if you have lights capable of changing color, like the Philips Hue Go. You can also customize the sensor's settings. During the day, you can have it trigger crisp white light to help you concentrate, and you can set it to automatically dim bulbs at specified times, like at night when you're getting ready for bed.

Philips Hue Motion  Sensor

The sensor can also be set to automatically turn off lights when it doesn't detect motion after a certain period of time. To warn you, the sensor will first dim the lights to 50 percent before shutting off after another minute of inactivity.

The Hue motion sensor works with every current Philips Hue light available. During the demo, I walked into a hotel suite bedroom, and the device automatically and swiftly registered my movement to switch on Philips Hue White Ambiance bulbs, and a Philips Hue LightStrip Plus.

The Philips Hue motion sensor is the latest in the company's smart lighting control options. Amazon Alexa voice control through Amazon Echo Dot and Siri voice control though Apple HomeKit are two recent, notable options. But now, with the motion sensor, you don't need to talk to either one of them if you wake up in the middle of the night. Philips is also adding a smaller version of its White Ambiance bulbs, and the company is refreshing its line of color-capable Philips Hue bulbs, so that they'll offer deeper, richer hues, later this year.

The Philips Motion Sensor comes out in October for $39.95.

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