'Twine' Ties Everyday Objects to the Internet
Two developers say their new invention teaches objects how to speak — you just have to tell them what to say.
Their project, called Twine, is a 2.5-inch square that connects objects to the Internet. Meaning, if you want your washing machine to send you a tweet when your laundry’s done, or your basement to send you an email if it floods while you’re on vacation, the developers promise even gadget greenhorns or casual tech enthusiasts can use Twine to put household objects to work online.
Simply connect the battery-operated, vibration-, temperature- and motion-sensing aqua-colored square to an object in your house: a vibrating washing machine, for instance, or a pipe in your basement. If necessary, Twine will communicate with you via SMS, Twitter or email, letting you know if something needs your attention, like a leaky pipe. Twine connects via Wi-Fi.
“Our underlying philosophy is that networking more of our cherished environment will create more and better ways for us to connect to each other,” Twine co-developer John Kestner told InnovationNewsDaily.
Kestner and fellow designer-engineer David Carr make up Supermechanical, a duo that focuses on innovating physical interfaces. A couple of Supermechanical’s past projects include a wallet that tracks your bank balance and a nightstand that collects photos from Twitter.
“Several [of our] projects involved connecting physical interfaces to the Internet,” Kestner said.“We found that we spent way too much time implementing that connectivity each time. Then we realized that we weren't the only ones who needed this itch scratched, and so we made the physical networking part easy to use in a variety of situations.”
The Post-It note-size Twine can also connect to outside stimuli, like a button, no programming required. Using a Web app, you can assign various tasks to Twine and the connected stimuli. For example, a user could activate a room’s air conditioning with the push of the connected button.
After a fundraising campaign on the creative funding website Kickstarter, Supermechanical is taking pre-orders for Twine online, with those who donated receiving their Twines in March. Nearly 4,000 backers donated more than $550,000 to the project via Kickstarter. That’s far beyond Supermechanical’s goal of $35,000.
General pre-orders will begin filling in May. The product sells for $99.