The Internet of Things – Connects real-world objects to the Web.
The idea behind Ninja Blocks is to make it possible to connect a series of sensors to the web without any serious electronic skills or programming experience. You plug in the Ninja Block, add sensors and output to the Web or to other real-world devices. Welcome to the Internet of Things.
With a built-in accelerometer and thermometer, a Ninja Block can sense its environment out of the box. With additional external sensors, Ninja Blocks can sense current, humidity, motion, distance, sound, light and even capture video. Output can be to web services such as Twitter, Facebook or Dropbox; or to lights, motors, and other actuators through expansion ports. So without being an electronics whiz you can have your house tell you how warm it is, be tweeted when the doorbell goes, receive an SMS when your child plays on the Xbox. The possibilities seem to be limited mostly by the user’s imagination. And it’s all wonderfully open-source, so it can be extended almost indefinitely.
It’s not all just fun stuff though. The developers are looking at many ideas and applications for the Blocks. In talking to developer Marcus Schappi about using the blocks in an educational environment, he mentioned that they had been working hard to get the blocks to talk to Apple’s new iBooks Author so that you could make a textbook that reacts to its environment. There are some really exciting possibilities there.
Ninja Blocks is the brainchild of a group of electronic enthusiasts from Sydney Australia. Its Kickstarter project is already over-subscribed but well worth a look as backers get some nice deals when the Blocks are released.