Stack's smart light bulb responds to the world around you

Many smart light bulbs... well, aren't. You can control them, but they're often blissfully unaware of what's going on in your home. Stack aims to change that with its recently unveiled Alba bulb. This sensor-packed illuminator changes brightness and color based on the time of day, location and who's present in the room. It'll start with cooler, more natural white hues when you're just waking up, but will switch to relaxing warm colors when it's late. It will also dim or shut off the lights when there's a lot of ambient light, or if you've left for work; alternately, it will come to life when there's a big commotion. There's a mobile app if you need to tweak settings, but the goal is to avoid using it as much as possible. Much like a Nest thermostat, Alba will learn appropriate behavior and (hopefully) let you keep your phone in your pocket.

You can pre-order the Alba system now ahead of its launch in early 2015. It's relatively expensive at $150 for a starter kit with two bulbs and a hub ($60 for every additional bulb), but Stack believes this is a better value than higher-end options like Philips' Hue -- for similar pricing, you're getting truly smart lighting that doesn't require constant intervention. If you've ever grown tired of fiddling with switches and sliders throughout the day, this may be worth a closer look.