busStatus.js: blink(1) Node.js bus notification on RasPi

Niklas was recently “nerding out with a open api, raspberry pi, blink(1) and some node.js code” and created a cool example of using Stockholm bus tracking API to light up a blink(1) that lets him know when he should leave for the bus. And since it’s all running on a Raspberry Pi hanging on his wall, it’s a compact easy-to-see single-purpose device.

Check out his blog post “A Nerds Way of Keeping Track of When the Next Bus Leaves” and github repo for full details.

luablink: Lua library for blink(1)

Lua is a very interesting and efficient programming language that’s exceptionally cross-platform. Since our blink(1) notification light is also very cross-platform, we’ve always wanted native Lua functionality for it, but haven’t had to resources to do it. Fortunately, Matt Burke made a great Lua library for blink(1) and put it up on github. Thanks Matt!

blink(1) in Amazon US!


ThingM’s blink(1) USB notification light is now on Amazon US!  We are super excited about this and are honored to be part of the brand new Amazon service called Amazon Launchpad.  Launchpad is a curated  site for cool crowdfunded products, much like other curated product sites you might be familiar with. But this one is backed by Amazon’s awesome fulfillment infrastructure.  We’re still getting our blink(1) page set up and stock sent to their warehouses, but we’re in the system and Amazon is taking orders and gauging demand.


Spooky BlinkM projects by John Park


For Halloween, John Park made some wonderful flickery props using a BlinkM, a BlinkM MaxM, 3d printed parts, and LEGO. Check them out on Twitter and below. Thanks JP!

Ambient sentiment: IBM Watson language analysis, Slack, & blink(1) USB LEDs


Jonathan Kaufman hooked up IBM Watson’s language tone analysis API to our blink(1) USB LED light to summarize the emotional state of his Slack channel as a color. And all using node-blink1. It’s very cool.  As he writes:

Last week I picked up a blink(1) at a conference, and had a lot of fun with it. It’s a pretty simple little device that can conjure up any color that can be described via RGB. Naturally, I decided to hook it up to IBM Watson’s Tone Analyzer in order to visualize the sentiment of my Slack channel in real time. […]

Watson gives us values of 0 – 1 for the following nine sub-categories from the following three categories:

  • Emotional Tone: cheerfulness, negative, and anger
  • Writing Tone: analytical, confident, and tentative
  • Social Tone: openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness


His original writeup is here, along with the code on github.

node-blink1-server for HTTP-to-blink1 fun


We love Node.js.  In many ways it’s the future. For those of you who also like Node and want a simple example of how to use node-blink1 or just need an HTTP-to-blink(1) adapter without running Blink1Control, here’s node-blink1-server. It’s the first of many Node projects we’ll be creating.

And if you want to explore more of Node with blink(1), here are a few more examples:

Continuous IoT Software Releases (w/ blink(1)!)

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ElectricFlow is a tool designed to orchestrate large-scale software delivery.  This is an increasingly notorious problem for everyone in the IoT space.  To demonstrate how ElectricFlow could work for automotive software delivery, ElectricCloud made a simulation using a Raspberry Pi and a few blink(1) lights. This is a great example of how blink(1)s can be useful: you need a simple non-screen indicator on your embedded system.  (and remember if you need more LEDs, blink(1)s can be hacked to add up to 18 LEDs)

Polar Heart Rate Monitor and blink(1) w/ Octoblu

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Cody Matthieu wrote up a neat HOWTO on hooking up a Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Polar Heart Rate monitor to a blink(1) notification light with the  Octoblu  device integration framework.  (and doing testing with the very good LightBlue Explorer app from Punch Through) It’s a really neat idea and yet another interesting case of assuming we always have a BLE-to-Internet gateway in our pockets thanks to modern smartphones.

ThingM joins OSHWA as supporting member

thingm-oswha2The Open Source Hardware Association  works to help define what it means  to be “Open Hardware”, as well as foster a community, help creators navigate licensing models, and promote consistent terminology for Open Hardware projects.  Their recent 2015 Open Hardware Summit was a resounding success. ThingM believes in OSHWA’s mission and we recently became supporting members.  Thank you OSHWA  for your work so far and continued success!