WHAT THE TECH? Nanoleaf Lights explained

Some tech gadgets make people say "oooooh". A Nanoleaf light kit is one of those gadgets.

The Nanoleaf is part light, part art. It's not easy to explain in print but I'll try.

These are flat-panel lights that link together to hand on a wall in any design you choose, provided each light panel stays connected to another. They come in several different shapes including triangles and hexagons. There are also light strips and smart light bulbs that I'll discuss at a later time.

Once the lights are connected and placed on a wall the show begins. Each light has around 16-million colors that can either be selected manually or using pre-recorded scenes. They respond to the app, touch, and sound.

When I opened the box of the popular Nanoleaf shapes I found 7 sturdy plastic hexagons with 3M sticky tape and connectors. It looked a bit daunting to put the things together. Download the app for iPhone or Android devices which will help guide you through the steps.

However, when it came time to place them on a wall it couldn't have been easier. Nanoleaf provides a sheet of possible designs but you can place the light flat panels in your own design, provided they are connected to one another.

Using one of the suggested designs I placed all of the tiles on a flat surface, my desk, to make sure the connectors were in the right place to make the connections. There's also a controller that clips into one of the connectors and you'll want to choose a hexagon where you want that connector. You'll also want to make sure the hexagon with the power cable is placed somewhere you want the wire to go from the light to the outlet. Once you place the light panels on the wall it's a little difficult to attach the sensors that easily pop into place before they're on the wall.

Once you place the connectors on the correct edges for the design, just remove the sticky tape and affix the first panel on the wall. Tip: each panel can rotate once affixed to the wall so it's a good idea to use a level to make sure it's going to look like the diagram on the paper.

Take the other panels, remove the sticky tape, and click them onto the connector. This process takes about 10 minutes.

Once the panels are affixed to the wall, plug in the power block and open the app. You'll find dozens of possible scenes with color schemes such as "Cocoa Beach", "Blaze", "Morning Sky", and "Reading Light". There are also color scenes that dance to sound and music. Choosing "Pop Rocks" creates a light scene that responds to the beat and pitch of the music coming from the room.

The lights are fun and eye-catching for sure.

The Shapes version of the Nanoleaf line seems to be most suited for game rooms, computer rooms, and the kids' room. The Elements version is perfectly fine for dens and living rooms as they have a wood-grain look. Elements don’t have as many colors to choose from the greys, oranges and warm whites are fine for my wife who doesn't care for techy-looking things in our den.

Nanoleaf lights sync not only with the Nanoleaf app but with Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, and IFTT so you can control them by voice and set up routines to turn on and off automatically when you wake up or go to bed.

There is an Alexa skill for the Nanoleaf but I haven't been able to get it to work consistently. The Google Assistant works without fail.

Nanoleaf also introduced "Lines" which are backlit bars that affix to the wall in the same way. I'll have more on those later.