Someone with far more time and money than sense has developed a “real flame smart candle” that can be controlled over Bluetooth. No, really.
The Ludela smart candle is some kind of bastard offspring of an electric vape and a wax candle. Boasting a “real flame”, the ludicrous Ludela candle comes with a smartphone app that allows idiots who hand over good beer tokens for more than one of these things to control the light (flame) level remotely.
“Relax. LuDela will notify you if your attention is needed” burbles the insanely upbeat website.
Apparently the candle extinguishes its flame if it tips over or if anything gets too close to it, and can also kill itself on a timer. It also scans its environment to “reduce fire risk” before flaring up and features a child lock. You know, in case junior gets bored of playing with real matches and decides to flash up the ridiculous electronic version instead.
“The safety module was developed and rigorously tested by some of the world's finest engineers of Surface Ink in San Jose, California. Under the hood of our beautiful LuDela candle shells is a 7-point safety feature set that automatically extinguishes the flame in the most common fire-causing conditions (tipping over, falling, objects moving over the flame, etc.). This safety module also prevents LuDela from igniting the flame when it's not safe to light using our Smart Scan technology,” explains the FAQ, which also adds that you can light it using matches and blow it out – “the old fashioned way”.
Electric candle aficionados can also buy “100% natural, pariffin-free [sic] wax refills”, hence the vape comparison. With these you can make your bedsit smell like the usual array of beeswax and so on – as well as soy, presumably so you can create that authentic I-live-above-a-Chinese-takeaway vibe.
It's real, there's a picture of it and everything
Of course, the Ludela website is full of meaningless bilge about sending books and (what else) electric lights to Africa in return for buying their candles. Hey, what's a modern marketing campaign if it doesn't include a subtle dose of “hey, poor people will go without unless you buy our crap”.
According to CNET, which religiously churned the firm's press release (and alarmingly added "I like the idea of starting fire with my phone") the electric candles will cost $100 for the base and a refill, $20 for each swappable outer shell, $8 each for scented refills, which are advertised as being able to run for 30 hours. The whole thing is battery powered and the firm claims its supplied batteries last for six months.
Oh, and if you subscribe (because what else would the discerning consumer of smart candles want to do more than hand over yet more spondulicks for this utterly ridiculous product) you can get a third off new refills.
Meanwhile, British homeware chain Wilkinson's advertises similar-sized wax candles for £4 (about $5). These are based on tried, tested and proven technology – the design goes back approximately a millennium and a half – lasts for around 90 hours and does not require refills.
Assuming we burn a candle for three hours, four times a week over six months, the total cost of ownership of a Ludela candle is $180. To burn real candles over the same timespan will cost you precisely £16 ($20) for four wax candles. You can even buy scented wax candles at no extra cost over the base model.
Terminally bewildered readers or recent lottery winners with nothing better to do can sign up to Ludela here. ®