Connect Anything to the Web Without a “Nerd Degree” Using Twine

November 29, 2011

11:30 am

Love to tinker? Well the MIT grads at Supermechanical have a new toy for you.

It’s called Twine, and it promises to connect anything to the web without a “nerd degree.” A 2.5″ square pizza-box shaped device, Twine reads from a bunch of sensors and then sends tweets or texts to alert you when those sensors are triggered.

For example, Twine contains a moisture sensor, which can be setup to alert you when it gets wet. Place Twine in your basement, and it will tweet you when your basement starts flooding. There are also temperature sensors, accelerometers, and magnetic switches built in to the device.

Twine comes with software that allows you to set up basic conditional rules for it. For example, you can say “if the temperature goes above 90 degrees, send me a text message.” Tinkerers can also design their own sensor systems using a breakout board.

The device hasn’t been released yet, but it has raised more than $100,000 in funding on KickStarter. People who pledge over $90 receive a Twine device when it gets released.

So what’s the verdict? Well, it is definitely a great device for tinkerers. If you know how to design a sensor circuit, you can do almost anything with it. It even allows you to connect via HTTP so you can write your own apps to monitor the device. I can imagine many people I know playing with these devices for hours.

It is yet to be determined, however, whether the device will be easy enough to setup and use for those of us that are less technical. Moreover, there’s only so much you can do with the built-in sensors. To really make it do cool stuff, you will need to be technical enough to wire it to other devices.

Regardless, the Twine is one cool device. According to KickStarter, there are almost 850 people who have paid to be on the waiting list, and I’m sure a lot more will buy the device when it comes out. As Twine grows in popularity, let’s hope the price goes down a bit, since at nearly $100 a pop, fitting your whole house with Twines will be ridiculously expensive.

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Ash Nadkarni is in her final year of residency in Psychiatry at Boston Medical Center and is the co-founder of Appguppy, a mobile startup that makes it fast and free to create and distribute mobile apps to any smartphone OS without coding. You can follow her on Twitter at @appguppy.

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