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Building a Smart Home Device that Wins Customers: The Lutron Aurora IoT Teardown

If you’re looking to break into the smart home market, a common misstep is to focus on coming up with the “cool” gadget and then having to figure out use cases for customers. Don’t fall into this trap. Focus on launching an easy-to-use IoT device that solves a customer’s existing problem — without creating a new one. The Lutron® Aurora smart bulb dimmer switch is a great example.

In this smart home device teardown video, Bill Flaherty, Hardware Engineer Practice Lead at Very, explores the Lutron® Aurora. This three-minute clip helps to explain why the Aurora is so well-liked by consumers — and uncovers the clever construction inside.

A Bright Idea

Lutron’s Aurora is a 1½” white disc designed to control Philips Hue smart lights. A button press and rotating dial allow the user to turn their smart lights on and off and dim or brighten with a push or twist. The Aurora covers a traditional light switch, locking the underneath switch to the on position. An included mounting bracket is all a user needs to get up and running. No wires, no app required, no worries.

Bill digs into the hardware and tours through an exploded view of every major component, including:

  • Button press and dial
  • Circuit board with push button and EFR32 chip by Silicon Labs
  • Mounting and button bridge brackets
  • Panasonic coin cell battery
  • Surface-mount LEDs

The EFR32 chip is a combination wireless radio and microcontroller unit, and it fits the Philips Hue standard the Aurora is designed to work with. This relatively inexpensive chip is the brain of the system and offers low-power wireless capability.

That band magnet is where the real genius of the device shines. It interacts with two small integrated circuits along the edge of the circuit board-hall effect sensors-to create a quadrature output. This gives the microcontroller the appropriate signal to determine the rotation of the dial. It’s a simply smart solution that’s both cheaper and smaller than a typical rotary encoder.

“As this magnet spins around on the dial, these hall effect sensors are seeing an alternating north/south magnetic field. That’s really fascinating and a key part of the Lutron Aurora,” Bill notes. 

A Simple, but Impactful Solution

Lutron has engineered a simple, cost-effective switch for consumers looking to control their smart devices without rewiring their electrical layout. And with a nearly perfect Amazon rating and 2,000 reviews, the Aurora has the numbers to back up those claims.

It’s interesting to see how a small device can make such a big impact on the market. If you enjoyed this video, subscribe to the Very YouTube channel where we share more smart device teardown videos, and explore all things IoT.

Want to learn more about how Very helps brands engineer smart home devices that win customers? Check out our IoT hardware engineering services.