Lighting Up The Lawn With 16 Million Colors

 In News

It starts with an innocent string of incandescent holiday lights around a porch window, maybe a plastic caroler or two on the front lawn.

Then it escalates: Twinkling lights are in the shrubs, Santa’s on the roof, an inflatable Frosty the Snowman is on the lawn and next to him is one of those little white wire reindeer with a head that turns ever so slowly.

Nice work, holiday decorator. But do you have lights that can be controlled by tracing your finger over the face of a smartphone? Do you have 16 million colors available at the flick of a switch?

Lumenplay’s LED lights can create any color, controlled by a mobile app.

Lumenplay’s LED lights can create any color, controlled by a mobile app.

New holiday lighting systems and smartphone apps can make that inflatable Frosty look downright austere — from an exotic lighting system called Lumenplay to a shivering snowman from the outfit that created that classic of kitsch, the singing mounted fish, Big Mouth Billy Bass.

The secret of the 16 million colors is single light bulbs that hold three LEDs — red, blue and green. Those three can be dialed up and down in various combinations by a smartphone app, creating an unimaginable number of possibilities.

Controlled via any Bluetooth smart device, the app has a range of up to 150 feet, so you can control the colors and action from across the yard or from your couch, simply by moving your finger along a color wheel on the screen of your Apple or Android phone or tablet. And they can be synced to music, set to twinkle or made to dance in nearly any pattern you’d like.

Since the color range is so varied, the same lights can be used for Halloween, Easter, Fourth of July, just about anything. They can even be left up year round — the holy grail of exhausted, height-fearing homeowners.

Lumenplay won’t be widely available for shoppers this year. The company that designed it, Rigado L.L.C. of Salem, Ore., is shipping 10-foot and 20-foot light strands only to supporters who backed the company’s successful  campaign on Crowd Supply.

Hudson Holiday

Hudson Holiday

But it hopes that by spring, those lights will be marketed as patio lights or advertised as perfect for weddings and other warm-weather occasions, said Amanda Besemer, marketing officer for the company.

Lumenplay lights do not come cheap. A 10-foot length costs $54, but the price per foot goes down as more strands are added. Should your budget allow for it, as many as 17 20-foot strands can be linked together.

Of course, for some, money is no object. For aspiring Clark Griswolds (the patriarch in the National Lampoon “Vacation” movies), there is Christmas in a Box, a package available through Animated Lighting of Kansas City, Mo.

Christmas in a Box is a preprogramed light controller that allows customers to animate their light displays — LED or incandescent — and synchronize them to music.

Despite the expense, some residential customers pay Animated Lighting to come out and design displays that can cost $10,000 and more, Mr. Smith said. “A lot of them say, ‘I want to just smoke people. I want people to say where in the hell did you buy that?’ ”

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