F.lux is a handy little app that warms up the light from your computer screen in the evening to help you sleep better. Philips light shades can also adjust the color temperature. This smart integration ties them together so that your screen and overall room lighting change together.
Why would you do that?
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There is a growing body of research that indicates that late-night exposure to bright and blue spectrum light makes it harder for us to fall asleep and otherwise wreaks havoc on our bodies. To combat blue light effects late at night, many people use an application called f.lux, which slowly shifts the color temperature of your computer screen warmer and warmer as the sun sets in your area.
Unbeknownst to many people, f.lux has experimental support for the Philippe Hue system, so now f.lux can not only change the color temperature of your screen, but it can also change the color temperature of your light bulbs. It is a solution for the entire environment that changes the color temperature of the entire room.
What you need
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To follow our tutorial, you will need the following pieces. First, you will need a copy of the f.lux software. While F.lux is available for Windows, OS X and Linux, Android, and jailbroken iOS devices, only Hue integration supports Hue integration at this time. The integration is still considered a beta/experimental feature — presumably support for OS X and Linux is just around the corner.
Second, you’ll need a Philips Hue lighting system with color-changing bulbs (less expensive white bulbs won’t work). If you need help setting up your lighting, check out our guide here.
How to link f.lux with tint bulbs
Your first stop is the f.lux app. Right-click the f.lux application icon on your computer’s taskbar.
From the context menu, right-click, select «Advanced…».
In the additional f.lux menu, you will see two entries related to Philips. One of them is labeled «Philips Hue Light Control» and matches our interests. There’s another entry labeled «Control Philips ColorKinetics» which, for curiosity’s sake, is Philips’ brand of commercial color changing LED systems — if you have a multi-thousand dollar commercial LED lighting system installed in your home, then this is the box for you! For the rest of us, we should check out Philips Hue Light Control.
When you check this box, you will hear a double sound. Now you need to navigate to your Philips Hue bridge device and physically press the sync button on the bridge. We recommend hitting it a few times, just for good measure, as the sync process seems a little odd.
At this point, f.lux and your Hue system are connected. When f.lux starts shifting the color temperature of your computer monitor in the evening, the color temperature of the bulbs will match. Whatever color temperature you specify in the f.lux settings menu, this is the temperature that the lamps will aim for.
The f.lux system polls your Hue system every 30 seconds or so — expect about half the delay from when you first notice f.lux activation on your computer until you see the light bulbs shift.
Hiccups, caveats and room for improvement
There are a few minor points worth pointing out in the f.lux / Hue process that will reduce your setup headaches and hopefully encourage the f.lux team to address some of the issues associated with merging the two systems.
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First, zero feedback that the link to the system was successful. The lights are not blinking, there is no confirmation popup or anything on your computer. The only way to confirm if we’ve successfully linked the two systems is to tell f.lux we’re in Central Europe (which triggered night mode and the accompanying lamp color change without making us wait for the actual night to fall). ).
Secondly, there is no possibility of selecting individual light bulbs. The system is now all or nothing. This means that if you have one light bulb behind your computer as part of your lighting offset setup, but you have the rest of the light bulbs in your living room and bedroom, all they will take on a warmer color temperature at the end of the day.
Now, to be honest, f.lux as a standalone product is fantastic, and we wouldn’t want you to think less of f.lux just because its integration with smart bulbs is in its infancy. If you like the idea of pairing color-changing lights with f.lux but aren’t sold with current limitations (such as all-or-nothing bulb choices), you can always create a scene for the Philips bulbs you want to use. sync with f.lux and then either manually turn them on when you’re using your computer or set an alarm in the Hue app to trigger a color change in the evening.
With a little tweaking and experimental Hue integration, you can bring all your lighting into line with your desire to ward off blue light at the end of the day.