19 January, 2013

Twine "Internet of Things" Monitor

My children know what kind of gifts that please their father, so they gave me a Supermechanical Twine for Christmas. It is described in this way:
Want to monitor things and environments remotely without a nerd degree? Maybe you want to get a tweet when your laundry's done, an email when the basement floods, or a text message when you left the garage door open.

I am presently using it to monitor the temperature in the outer part of the basement, where there is a chance of freezing when the outside temperature drops below about -15 C (5 F). I can continuously read the status such as the temperature on any web browser on my computer or mobile phone. I can also set threshold values that trigger an email message.

The Twine is easy as a breeze to program, by using simple rules as shown below.



The only catch is that right now the conversion to centigrades is not fully debugged, so I had to enter the strange world, to me, of Fahrenheit degrees close to freezing temperatures to get the rules to work.

I just couldn't let go of my curiosity as to what's inside, so here's a picure. Links to the datasheet for the processor and the Wifi-module can be found on the Supermechanical Community site.

The Twine comes with a temperature sensor and an orientation sensor built in. As options one can connect an external humidity sensor or a magnetic switch. Alternatively one may use a breakout board for inputs from one's own binary sensor.

Other interesting applications are:
There is a Supermechanical Community forum with discussions and lots of ideas as well as a Supermechanical Support page for users who need assistance. I think we will soon see many more similar devices - we are at the threshold of the era of the Internet of Things.

Update 29. Jan 2013: Yesterday, the Twine got software upgrade 1.2 and now it does Celcius properly, I have just tested it. So what I wrote about having to use Fahrenheit is no longer needed - and now that I was about to get familiar with Fahrenheit! In addition some new functionality was added such as vibration sensing, I'm looking forward to testing that too.