Smarter Things


A few months ago I took a look at some projects and apps that look to connect everyday devices to the Internet – part of the growing Internet of Things or IoT. In just a few months a lot has happened and there are some exciting new projects and events taking place.
hero-detailThe SmartThings project on Kickstarter has received a lot of attention recently. The project consists of a hub device that communicates wirelessly with various “Things” that can be sensors (motion, light, temperature) or devices (thermostats, power outlets, smoke alarms) to communicate with apps for your mobile device or help automate tasks around the house. Maybe I’ll be able to get that text message or push notification when one of my kids leave the lights on in the basement without having to install a bunch of X-10 or Insteon gear?
Some other exciting Kickstarter projects are looking to integrate with SmartThings as well:

  • Instacube – a interactive digital picture frame for your Instagram feed can also serve as a display for notifications or a touch screen for interacting with your things.
  • The second generation Wattvision energy sensor (I’ve got the original version – it’s awesome) will also offer SmartThings integration

The SmartThings hub will also offer integration with Arduino hardware which I’m sure will result in some really creative uses. I’ve been looking for a reason to order an Arduino board and this might just be it.
A great example of an Arduino based Kickstarter project is #AirQualityEgg, which I linked to in my original post. The #AirQualityEgg community recently held a meetup in Chicago to install one of the first network of sensors. As part of the meetup the #AirQualityEgg team imported data into (formerly Pachube) which is an online home for IoT devices, apps, and developers to come together. You can view live data from an EPA sensor at Cosm and get JSON, XML, or CSV feeds of the data to work with in your own apps. They also built some cool visualizations of the data too.

The Arduino project has a tutorial that makes it easy for for an Arduino board with an ethernet shield to upload data to Cosm for your own IoT project.
For now I’m following @smartthings on Twitter to keep up with new developments and integration partners and am looking for an excuse to use some of the great features Cosm has to offer. What would I love to see on the IoT? Our pair of Neato robot vacuums so I can get a push notification when the dust bin is full or the brush is stuck on some obstacle my kids left lying around the house. Need any beta testers Neato?

SmartThings image from

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