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.