In my future house, I want a refrigerator that will tell me its contents via Wi-Fi, so I'll be able to check whether I need extra butter when I'm at the market. I want a lamp that will turn on when it senses sunset, so I won't have to adjust my automatic timers; I want a garden-watering system that will gauge whether my tomato plants are thirsty; and I want an outdoor rain/hail/snow sensor so I can make better weather spotter reports. The Internet of Things promises to bring me this world, and now there's a cheap, customizable platform that could make it happen.
Electric Imp came out today, promising to connect any electronic device to the Internet and help you customize your life. The cards can be installed in almost any device, using circuit boards Imp sells, and apparently the company is also working with device manufacturers to start adding native Imp slots.
We've seen other prototypes connecting the Internet of Things, notably IBM's Mote Runner, which can connect any hardware enabled with wireless sensors. But this one is unique because, as Gizmodo points out, it's a universal system — connect anything you want, no back-end hardware or software required.
The software is pretty simple, using drag-and-drop graphics to set up commands, but it is also easily programmed, and users will be able to visit a hub where they can share tasks they've come up with. Within a couple minutes, the Electric Imp team set up a system that monitors a Christmas tree's water supply and dims the lights when the water is getting low, meaning a dry tree. Watch it below.
A developer bundle is expected to be available late next month. Cards will cost $25 and circuit boards are between $10 and $25, depending on how many bells and whistles you want. Read more about the company here.
I can't wait for my fridge and microwave to post status updates. My mundane activities will soon become precious data for a fortune 500 company. Hooray...
"I want a lamp that will turn on when it senses sunset"
You hardly need to connect your lamp to the Internet to do that.
Then buy a $5 photo-cell AC switch. They are like on the shelves at Home Depot.
Frankly I'm not too impressed. There are several devices out there that could do similar things, but the most important part isn't "put it on the Internet", it is actually how do you sense what you want to sense, and how do you make that information into something that is useful.
For example the idea of knowing what is in your fridge. How do you even sense that? And what if the method of sensing that costs more then this device or requires you to do special things so that it works. Like at the website given someone suggests using a scale. Now with that you have to have a scale for everything, and a scale that can feed out the weight to an electronic sensor isn't cheap, and you would have to put your eggs on one scale the milk on another, the bread on another... And how are all these electronic devices going to be powered? How are they going to fit in the right places? And a camera with some really smart software might be able to tell you what is in the fridge if it can see it (hard to put in a camera that is that close and would not be blocked from seeing a lot of things in there), but even so it wouldn't know if the milk carton is empty or full).
The guy that thought of using the bar code on the trash can has a better chance of it working, but unfortunately he doesn't know how bar codes work. The bar code on your milk doesn't say "milk" it says 123294342. So what is that number some special number you can look up and it says "milk"? Nope, it is just a number. In the store computer they have 123294342 to mean a certain item. So unless you have a database of all the manufactures bar code item numbers (and new ones are added all the time) you can't even tell what you have.
I think this device is awesome based on price alone for a wide variety of sensors and connectivity...which will give it many uses with the right person's imagination. Oh and the fridge thing...there already doing that....pretty much
...maybe with this device you could add features
"Make it so"
....actually found the article that was pulled from...surprised I haven't seen this covered on Pop-Sci
"Make it so"
"religion is like a prison for the seekers of wisdom"
Funtastic its promising technology to turn on remotely.
Jun A. Auman
Les possibilités offertes par les microcontrôleurs <a rel="dofollow" href="http://www.matlog.com/navsync/>Arduino</a> sont infinies ! L'avenir nous réserve de belles choses au niveau des nouvelles technologies !