Twine project gains funding for sensor networks

Supermechanical's Twine - a Wi-Fi connected sensor platform

Supermechanical's Twine - a Wi-Fi connected sensor platformA Kickstarter project founded by MIT Media Lab graduates David Carr and John Kestner in the form of start-up Supermechanical has blown past its funding goal, thanks to a simple but disruptive premise: an easy-to-use device for ‘if-then’ monitoring.

Dubbed ‘Twine,’ the project takes the form of a compact 2.5-inch square block containing two internal sensors – thermometer and accelerometer – connectivity for external sensors, a Wi-Fi radio and two AAA batteries.

Combined with a simple web platform the pair has developed, the Twine allows non-programmers to set up ‘if-then’ rule sets with no coding required: “WHEN moisture sensor gets wet THEN tweet ‘The basement is flooding!” is but one example.

Although alternatives exist – such as the London Hackspace Nanode, an open hardware Arduino variant designed for Ethernet and RF sensor networks – the Twine is designed to be as simple to use as possible, and runs for ‘months’ on a single pair of batteries.

The concept has won the pair some serious support: with 36 days to go, the Kickstarter funding push has already smashed past its $35,000 goal with more than $100,000 raised. The pair has promised to use the excess to fund development of additional sensors, including the possibility of adding RFID compatibility.

More information is available on the official KickStarter project page.

Pachube goes free for all

Popular cloud-based sensor monitoring service Pachube has announced that it will now offer its server free to all, ditching its previous for-pay tiered membership model.

Replacing the tiered account structure is a single account for all, offering 100 API requests per minute to all members – up from the 40 requests per minute currently enjoyed by ‘Pro’ members – with ‘Premium’ members receiving a boost to 250 API requests per minute for their support.

“So, why go free? No, we haven’t decided to become a non-profit. No, we’re not just super-nice. What we are is ambitious,” explains Pachube’s Conan Reidy of the changes. “And having worked with and talked with many people in the Pachube community, we know that they’re ambitious too.

“By making the Pachube service free, we’re removing a small barrier today, and we’re committed to removing more barriers in the coming months. Pachube will continue to get simpler, better and more capable. Our intention is that many of these new capabilities will be free. Some of them won’t. We hope that you’ll want to pay for the stuff we decide to charge for.”

All accounts will be upgraded within the next few hours, and users who have paid for an annual subscription in the last 60 days will receive an automatic refund. More information is available on the Pachube blog.