Nanoleaf’s New Touch Reactive Panels and RemoteBy - 01/24/2019
Whenever we’re at CES, we try our best to visit Nanoleaf’s booth. We were there when they showed off Aurora, now called Light Panels, at CES 2016. We were also there when they launched the Rhythm module (2017). And while we didn’t get to visit them last year, this year we were able to play with both Canvas and Remote.
Nanoleaf Canvas vs. Light Panel
Nanoleaf Canvas was first introduced at CES 2018 and it officially launched in December of the same year. It’s slated to become the next gen Nanoleaf Light Panel. Let’s start by comparing Canvas to the older Light Panel.
The main difference between Canvas and Light Panel is the shape. Light Panels are triangular, while the new Canvas panels are 5.9″ x 5.9″ squares. You might have also noticed that Canvas’ entire surface lights up, unlike Light Panels that have opaque corners.
As with Light Panels, the Canvas square panels attach to each other via linkers. The square panels have a total of four linker slots, one on each side. The good news is the slots aren’t centered, so you don’t necessarily have to place your panels side-by-side. For example, it’s possible to attach the lower half of a panel to the upper half of another panel.
Number Of Panels
In 2018, we were told that you could piece together up to a thousand Canvas panels and power them using a single power supply by adding a booster. This didn’t turn out to be true. It’s clearly stated on Nanoleaf’s website that one power supply can only support up to 25 Canvas panels, which is fewer than Light Panel’s 30-panel limit.
At first, it seems like Canvas is at a disadvantage. But here’s the thing: With Light Panel, each power supply is controlled individually. If you add a second power supply to your setup, you won’t be able to integrate it with the first one. In contrast, the Canvas starter kit includes a Control Square. It looks like a regular square panel, but it has a built-in touch interface that acts as a controller. Each Control Square can control up to 500 square panels, even if they’re supplied by different power supplies. All square panels connected to a single Control Square become part of a single setup. As an example, if you have 100 square panels attached to four different power supplies, you can integrate them all to form a large pixelated Mona Lisa portrait.
The Control Square has six capacitive touch buttons: Rhythm Scene, Shuffle Scenes, Next Color Scene, Dim, Brighten, and On/Off.
In 2017, Nanoleaf launched Rhythm. It’s a separate controller module for Light Panels that enables your lighting setup to “dance to music” by picking up ambient sound using its built-in microphone. By pressing a button on the module, you can activate Rhythm Scenes as you wish.
Canvas has no use for the Rhythm module because the module’s features are integrated into the Control Square. Instead of a separate controller, you can activate a Rhythm Scene by pressing the musical note button on the Control Square.
Capacitive Touch Surface
In addition to the Control Square being touch-sensitive, all square panels can respond to touch. You can tap or slide your finger across any square panel to turn it on or off, adjust the brightness, or set scenes. Touch controls can be customized using the Nanoleaf app.
Finally, Canvas integrates with the same products as Light Panels. For voice control, Nanoleaf has partnered with Apple HomeKit (Siri), Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. Using any of the three voice assistants, you can make your Nanoleaf lights change color, dim or brighten, turn on or off, or set to different scenes.
For home automation, Nanoleaf offers an IFTTT channel. Using another IFTTT-enabled device or service as a trigger, you can set Canvas to notify you of certain events using blinking lights, brightness, activation of a scene, or even by turning on or off.
Nanoleaf Remote: Dodecahedron Remote Control
Nanoleaf also revealed their remote control. The device works with Light Panel, Canvas, and HomeKit.
It’s no ordinary remote control. It’s a dodecahedron (that’s a polyhedron with 12 faces and 30 edges) die-like Bluetooth remote control (pictured above). Each face corresponds to a number from 1 to 12 and each number corresponds to an action. For example, if you turn the number 1 face up, it will turn on your Canvas panels. If you turn the number 2 face up, Rhythm Scene will activate. Nanoleaf Remote comes pre-programmed so that you can use it out of the box. However, you can customize the actions using the Nanoleaf app or the Apple Home App. You can also program some of the faces to activate HomeKit scenes. Below is a video of our editor, Rose, playing with the Nanoleaf Remote.
— It’s Rose (@Rose_Thibodeaux) January 8, 2019
The Remote also has another function: You can use it to adjust the brightness of your Light Panel or Canvas by rotating it clockwise (brighten) or counter-clockwise (dim).
Pricing & Where To Buy
You can buy Canvas and the Remote on Nanoleaf’s website. The Canvas Smarter Kit sells for $249.99. It includes eight square panels, a Control Square, a power supply, nine linkers, and double-sided mounting tape. There’s also an expansion pack consisting of four square panels.
Nanoleaf Remote is available for $49.99. If you own Nanoleaf Light Panels or Canvas, I highly recommend purchasing the Remote. It’s useful and fun to use.