Local authentication

May 1, 2022


In order to control your Hue devices, you must first authenticate to your Hue bridge. The PhilipsHue package only supports local authentication which means that it can only be used when you are on the same network as the Hue bridge you’re trying to control. For local authentication to work, the PhilipsHue packages requires the following environment variables to be set:

See the Philips Hue Getting Started guide to learn more about authentication.

Local authentication

Starting out, you can see that we have not set the necessary local authentication environment variables.

#> [1] ""
#> [1] ""

Let’s begin by identifying the IP address of our local bridge. This can be found in the settings of the Hue app, or we can use a lookup service as shown here. (IP address masked for privacy.)

bridge_ip <- httr::GET("https://discovery.meethue.com") |>
    httr::content() |>

gsub("\\d", "0", bridge_ip)
#> [1] ""

Now that we’ve found our bridge IP address, we can set the value as an environment variable.

Sys.setenv(PHILIPS_HUE_BRIDGE_IP = bridge_ip)

Next we need to create a new user – there’s a function for that!

#> Error in create_user("test_user"): API request returned errors
#> - error:
#>     type: 101
#>     address: ''
#>     description: link button not pressed

Oops! As you can see, in order to create a new user we need to press the button on the Hue bridge first. Let’s press the button and try again.

local_user <- create_user("test_user")

purrr::map_lgl(local_user, grepl, pattern = "^.{2,}$")
#>  username clientkey 
#>      TRUE      TRUE

Success! Now we can set the username environment variable, and we should have local access to the bridge.

Sys.setenv(PHILIPS_HUE_BRIDGE_USERNAME = local_user$username)

With these variables set, PhilipsHue functions should take care of authentication automatically. Here’s a minimal example.

get_lights() |> length()
#> [1] 35
#> $on
#> [1] FALSE
#> $bri
#> [1] 1
#> $ct
#> [1] 316
#> $alert
#> [1] "select"
#> $colormode
#> [1] "ct"
#> $mode
#> [1] "homeautomation"
#> $reachable
#> [1] TRUE

get_sensors() |> length()
#> [1] 6
#> [1] "Daylight"

.Renviron file

You can use an .Renviron file to set these environment variables automatically when you start R. Here, we’ll write these new credentials to a file that is used during functional testing.

write_auth("tests/testthat/.Renviron", append = FALSE)