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 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:
- Garage door monitoring and alarm when it has been open for a certain time period
- Monitoring the temperature of a turkey thawing
- Use of the magnetic switch in a pet door to track when your pet comes and goes.
- Christmas tree water level monitoring
- Temperature logging
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.