The internet of things: 5 impressive campaigns

The internet of things is probably the most exciting ‘thing’ that’s ever happened to the internet. It’s been a concept for a long time now, but now the technology is beginning to cross over into the mainstream and become more accessible. Essentially, this is where physical objects (things) are controlled virtually through cloud computing and networked devices. It means that objects can talk to each other and some pretty amazing applications come from that. It typically runs through Aruduino which is open sourced hardware. To understand the internet of things properly, check out these impressive projects:


One of my favourite applications of Arduino is Ninja Blocks, as it opens up the concept to make it more accessible. Ninja Blocks are pieces of hardware that run through Ninja Cloud, enabling pretty much anyone to set them up and run a number of tasks. They operate along the ‘if this then that’ rule, with the blocks also incorporating sensores. So for example, you can set up a task with the Ninja block placed by your door with the tast ‘if someone opens my door, take a picture & send to Twitter’. Through Ninja Blocks you can create any number of tasks, as far as your imagination will take you. They’re also available to pre-order now.

Give Away Candy

There’s been a few examples of campaigns like this since, but the ‘Give Away Candy’ project was one that really set the trend. Created by Michael Nilsson and Marcus Olsson, the candy machine worked by connecting with Twitter to reward staff on their development team. The candy machine was operated by sending the tweet “give @sidpiraya candy” and you could also see the effect of your tweet via livestream on the Candy Giveaway site. The project is no longer live, but you can read how it was hacked together here.

Real-life companions

Possibly one of the cutest applications of the ‘internet of things’ comes in the form of ReaDIYmate, which has been recently funded on Kickstarter. These are paper creatures that come enabled with a wifi chip, and react to what’s happening in your internet life. The kits come ready to assemble and also function along an ‘if this then that’ process. You can choose from a number of paper creatures, who will move on your desk depending on the tasks that you set. Probably not really a huge point to them, but fun nonetheless:

The email Christmas Tree

Running on an Arduino and PHP script, this is the Christmas tree that responds to emails by lighting up and instantly getting you into the festive spirit. The tree will scan your emails and light up every time new mail hits your inbox. It can also be tuned to scan for particular emails, should you want your alerts in an an entirely different and totally fun format:

Unlock your door with Siri

There are some great hacks with Siri, which extends the ‘internet of things’ to voice control. This is a great example of using it to unlock a door, and an application hack that’s actually useful as well as being purely fun. The hack was created by Lean Labs, and as well as being able to unlock your door with a ‘secret knock’, you can also get an SMS alert every time the door is unlocked, allowing you to keep an eye on who’s coming and going.

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