‘Internet Button’ Causes Web-Connected Reactions in Any Device
Spark’s newest device can control hot tubs, mood lamps, and confetti shooters remotely
The Internet of Things is becoming as fast reality. In 2010, the idea of connecting electronic devices to the Internet was only explored in incubation. In the following four years, a myriad of companies—spearheaded by Nest—developed products that connect to the Internet, sync with other devices, and complete programmed tasks.
Next, rather than rely on pre-programmed commands, consumers want to organize their own devices’ systems and capabilities. Spark’s newly-released Internet Button will allow users to do just that.
Spark Internet Button 2.jpgAt the core, the Internet Button holds a Photon, a postage stamp-sized hackable Wi-Fi module for interacting with physical things. Users programming on Spark’s Core system can connect essentially any device with a Photon to the Internet. The Internet Button uses If This Then That (IFTTT), which relies on triggers to cause “reactions”; for example, if you misplace your phone, you can push a button, which calls your cell. IFTTT offers two reactions: it can either publish an event (which communicates to the Internet once something happens to the device) or call a function (which triggers an action in the physical world).
In order to make IFTTT less daunting to beginners, Spark chose to package the technology as a button. As Spark CEO Zach Supalla tells The Next Web:
Our goal is to help people create the next generation of connected products. Everyone comes in a different points. A lot of the people we sell to are already makers, they have some level of knowledge. We wanted to make it easier for people who have zero knowledge and still want to start building things, so we decided to create a button. The thought was that we could boil down the tech into a toy but make it really powerful.
Spark Internet Button 3.jpgSince its launch in 2013, Spark IO has been in the business of Internet connection. Its 2013 Kickstarter raised over $500,000 for a first-generation Wi-Fi-hardware connector. With its newest product launch, Spark has energized an open-source movement of makers to build products connected to the Internet of Things.
What commands are people programming? A select favorite include:
If my coffee finishes brewing then post on Slack (If Spark then Slack)
If my hot tub reaches the right temperature then send me a text message that reads “It’s hot tub time!” (If Spark then SMS)
If the weather improves then change the colors of a mood lamp (if Spark then mood lamp)
If my team wins then create a celebration with a confetti shooter in my front yard….