Twinkly adds fun to smart lighting – Houston Chronicle

May 22, 2022 by No Comments

Smart lighting — which you control with an app or by voice — is mainstream these days. It’s no big deal to turn a light (or roomful of lights) on or off without touching a light switch. And many smart lighting products include features you couldn’t operate from a switch, such as changing color or blinking.

I have smart lights all over my house including smart bulbs in most of the lamps and overhead fixtures, and decorative LED light strips in strategic locations. I love being able to control them with my iPhone, Siri, or Alexa, and it’s been years since I’ve used switches to turn the lights in my office, workshop or bedroom on or off.

So, until recently, I considered smart lights convenient but not a lot of fun.

Then I discovered Twinkly (, app-controlled decorative lighting products that are not only convenient, but unique and tons of fun. Originally conceived as programmable Christmas tree lights, Twinkly has blossomed into a line of flexible lighting products that do very cool stuff.

Twinkly lights are available in myriad configurations — strings, dots, icicles, clusters and more — each with up to 600 individually addressable LEDs. What makes Twinkly lights unique is how they map the precise position of every light, and the cool effects they produce after mapping.

You start by placing your lights wherever you like. They’re flexible, so you can create a particular shape, wrap an object such as a TV screen or painting, or go completely random. Then, when the lights are arranged just the way you like them, launch the Twinkly iOS (or iPadOS) app and use the camera to scan and calculate the position of each individual LED.

Now you can choose from dozens of effects including snow, rainbow, candy cane, fireworks, the U.S. flag and the Union Jack. No matter where you placed your Twinkly lights, you’ll see dazzling animated imagery. You can edit any preset, download additional free presets and create your own.

Other niceties include playlists — sequences of effects that play back automatically, and the ability to sync (some) effects to music with the (optional) Twinkly Music USB microphone.

Finally, while you can use your voice and Siri or Alexa to turn Twinkly lights on or off, dim or brighten them or change their color, I was disappointed that you can’t change preset effects by voice at this time.

With prices starting at around $100, I plan to use Twinkly lights extensively in our next house.

Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus has written more than 90 books, including macOS Monterey for Dummies and iPhone For Dummies.

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