That the traditional light bulb form factor still exists is purely a function of incumbency. On its own it's effective for general illumination, but not much else; it must be aimed, guided and/or reflected with shades and housings to provide the results we want, whether it's ambient lighting or task.
It can be tough to re-think something so entrenched, but product designer Øvind Slaatto and the folks at Danish company Shade have designed a light from scratch with function in mind. One of their insights is that there's times when you want light shining upwards to bounce off of the ceiling, providing soft ambient light; there are times when you prefer stronger ambient lighting, as from a source going sideways; and there are times when you want it shining straight down at the task--cooking, reading, etc.--that you're conducting.
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Here's what they've come up with, and though it isn't spherical, they've named it the Orb:
The downside is that it's fabulously expensive, ringing in at USD $189 per bulb or $347 for a pair. But that hasn't stopped it from being over $250% funded on IndieGogo: At press time they were up to $125,745 in pledges on a $50,000 target.
Want one with that sexy transformable shade, the Slaatto?
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That'll set you back $794 with the Orb.
I hope that they keep developing this, and that the price comes down. I want these all over my house.