Hue Lights Siri Shortcuts Support

Phillips have updated the Hue Lights app to work with Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12 (requires app and hub updates).

You will now be able to run Siri Shortcuts which can include commands for your Hue lights. So you can run a shortcut by saying for example, ‘Siri Relax Me’ (or any phrase you choose for your shortcut) and it can dim the lighting and put your phone into do not disturb mode.

I am pleased as I can replace my slightly brittle Hue Lights Workflow, I posted about previously. I look forward to making some more workflows (shortcuts) which can seamlessly affect the lighting.

 

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Hue Lights Workflow

Workflow App Widgets

I’ve enjoyed using the Workflow app (acquired by Apple) to create little workflows to help my dad complete tasks. Remind him at work, remember supermarket coupons, show interesting stuff, like indicate the number of people in space right now etc.

Recently he got Phillips Hue lights. I decided this was a perfect opportunity to cross Workflow with the Hue API. Yes I know, the Hue app, but where is the fun in that?

Hue API Workflow

First step was building a workflow to hook up with the Hue Bridge and pass the API commands. I followed the steps on the ‘getting started’ guide on the Phillips developer site.

For easy future editing, I broke out the ‘Bridge IP address’ and the ‘User ID’ as variables.

After a little test, I had a workflow that sent a colour value to a Hue light.

API Workflow Reuse

To avoid long complex workflows I decided to keep the Hue API workflow very simple. It just passes the colour hue value to the lights. Thats it.

Any future flows I make, their last step will be RunWorkflow Hue API, to run that flow and pass it a colour input.

This avoids duplication. Any future change to the Hue API, will only have to be made in one place.

Carbon Intensity Workflow

The Carbon Intensity Forecast (carbonintensity.org.uk) is an API provided by the National Grid.  It returns the amount of CO2 used by the UK power grid.

I already had a flow that returned the current Carbon Intensity from their API. I modified this to extract the returned value – low, moderate or high.

Three variables with green, amber and red colour hue values were created. An odd colour hue format is the format Hue requires, unsurprisingly.

Selecting one of three values wasn’t straightforward, as Workflow only has if/else statements, not if/if else/else. I had to get a little creative and nest statements:

  • If does not contain ‘moderate’?
    • If contains ‘low’?
      • Get low variable colour value (green)
    • Else ‘high’
      • Get high colour value (red)
  • Else moderate
    • Get moderate value (amber)

The corresponding variable fetched, gets passed when I run the Hue API workflow and the LED strip displays the Carbon Intensity level as green, amber or red. Success.

Workflow

Its a simple use case and may seem a simple project but it still threw up some interesting little problems to solve etc. I enjoy using and looking for excuses to use Workflow app.

I am interested in the ability of iOS 12 to use Siri Automation with custom phrases to accomplish the same functionality.

I am also hoping for the day when the Carbon Intensity is low by default.

How your home could generate, store and sell energy – BBC News

More energy storage providers – such as Ovo Energy, Powervault and Moixa are entering the market – particularly as electric vehicles (EVs) promise to become a useful addition to the domestic energy mix. BMW i3 batteries are already being used to store windfarm energy in Wales, so it makes sense to integrate such car battery tech into homes.

via How your home could generate, store and sell energy – BBC News

Amazon Working On First Robot

There are no firm details on what Amazon’s robot looks like or what purpose it will serve, but Bloomberg suggests it could be a sort of “mobile Alexa” — following users around their house to places where they can’t speak directly to an Echo speaker. Prototype robots built by Amazon reportedly have computer vision software and cameras for navigation, and the company is said to be planning to seed devices in employees’ homes by the end of the year.

via Amazon is reportedly working on its first home robot – The Verge

Yep, I see this as a mobile Alexa or a robot vacuum cleaner. Nothing too big or scary, to ease people into having robots in their home.

A Clever Rug That Creates the Illusion of a Gaping Hole in the Floor When Viewed at a Certain Angle — Laughing Squid

British designer Scott Jarvie has created the wonderful Void Rug, a clever floor covering that creates the optical illusion that, when viewed at a certain angle, makes it appear as if there is an unexpected gaping hole right in the middle of the room. The Void Rug, when viewed at a particular angle, creates the…

via A Clever Rug That Creates the Illusion of a Gaping Hole in the Floor When Viewed at a Certain Angle — Laughing Squid

Floating Cloud, A Beautiful Sound Responsive Lamp That Levitates Above Its Base — Laughing Squid

 

Designer Richard Clarkson known for his beautiful cloud designs, partnered again with Crealev to create the “Floating Cloud“. While the designers made decision to remove the speakers that were in previous products, this soft light responds with colors to music and human voices while levitating above its base. After months of design research and user…

via Floating Cloud, A Beautiful Sound Responsive Lamp That Levitates Above Its Base — Laughing Squid

Mellow Table

Mellow, as the Kickstarter page so aptly describes, is a Bluetooth speaker / power bank / table from Team Creatio, a hardware company with a couple crowdfunding campaigns under its belt. As the company describes it, Mellow is “the only speaker table you (sic) ever want,” and a statement that is certainly hard to argue with.

The design of Mellow is probably the best part of it: it’s a polished wood table, made of either black walnut or ash, with beech legs. The sides are wrapped in a gray fabric that complements the look nicely.

YOU HAVE TO CHARGE THE TABLE TO USE IT
But Mellow doesn’t just serve as an end table — it also has a Bluetooth speaker and 3.5mm headphone jack built in for music, along with a pair of hidden USB ports on the back to recharge devices.

I continue to be amazed at the simple ways product designers are still able to combine things into a much more useful sum than its parts. This is a pretty neat table / speaker.

via Kill three birds with one stone with this Bluetooth speaker power bank table – The Verge