Pimping your blink(1) with bamboo & grass

TerjeOfNorway created a great step-by-step guide on how to to make a calming bamboo & (fake) grass home for his blink(1).
Full guide here:   http://www.terjeofnorway.no/2014/06/pimping-your-blink1/
If you are CAD and 3d-printer capable, the original blink(1) enclosure we put on Thingiverse works with the blink(1) mk2 and you can use it as a stepping stone to make your own enclosure.

New Python library for blink(1) & blink(1) mk2

Salim Fadhley has taken on the job of rewriting the basic Python blink(1) library we provided and making it so much more awesome. You can get it here: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/blink1

As he says: “This is a rewrite of ThingM’s original Python library. It includes the following modifications:

  • 100% test coverage on all library components
  • Python 3.x compatible
  • Automatic installation via Python Package Index.
  • Higher level control over the blink(1).
  • Single implementation with pyusb, intended to be installed with admin access or virtualenv.”

He’s also added features like gamma correction and white-point correction. Salim has been pushing his changes to the official ThingM blink1 github and we’re very proud to have it as part of the official blink(1) software set.


blink(1)mk2 Windows System Bar Controller using .NET

Jay Collett used the .NET library created by Jean-Francois Talbot (also in the ThingM github) to build a nice & small system tray app that does exactly what he wants.


Read about it here:


Jay includes all the source code so you can see how it’s done and modify it to your own tastes.

One of the downsides you might say of the Blink1Control app is it attempts to address the needs of many different use cases. If you want something very specific, building your own custom thing is the way to go. This is why we like Open Source so much: it let’s people customize their products to fit their lives.

blink(1) mk2 pre-orders open, shipping in June

We just opened pre-orders up for blink(1) mk2, our awesome USB RGB LED notification light.  We’re still fulfilling orders to our Kickstarter backers, but we expect to get all them out before June. Then we’ll start shipping pre-orders.

So if you’d like to pre-order your blink(1) mk2, visit: http://buy.thingm.com/blink1

And if you want a blink(1) mk2 before then, join us at Maker Faire! We’ll have a few for sale there.


It’s super small, about as big as your thumb, but bright enough to be seen across a room.

The blink(1) mk2 has two independently-addressable RGB LEDs, so you can assign different events to different sides of the blink(1).



Maker Faire 2014: We’re going. Come visit. Get a blink(1)!

Once again ThingM will be at Maker Faire.  We’ll be in the Maker Shed, demoing our BlinkM family, as well as showing off what the new blink(1) mk2 can do.  So. many. LEDs. And we’ll be just one of many showing off LED projects.

And for the first time outside of our Kickstarter, you’ll be able to get your own blink(1) mk2!  We have a limited quantity on hand for the Shed and they’ll be stocking them for us. (Any backers reading this, yours are shipping now, but come visit us at the Faire if you want more)

Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 is May 17 & 18 at the San Mateo Event Center. It’s mind-blowing and fun.





buildblink: nodejs build light using blink(1)

Brett sent us a message with this cool Node.js add-on called “buildblink“.  It’s a continuous integration build light so you can tell when your code builds break.

Different colour patterns can be configured. Default configuration follows the patterns below:


  • Green Successful build
  • Flashing Green (temporarily) Newly successful build
  • Police Lights (temporarily) Newly failed build
  • Cycle Green / Yellow Building & previous build was green
  • Cycle Red / Yellow Building & previous build was red

Currently tested with one build, one light.

It currently works with TeamCity but he plans on adding support for Jenkins and Travis CI.

Check it out on npmjs.org.


BlinkMs in “Playful Interactions in the Darkness” project by CuteCenter

BlinkM Smart LEDs (http://blinkm.thingm.com/) were used in this delightful motion-responsive installation created by a team of students for children to play with light at night.


For more information, see:

Original video from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAZRagPvK6c

Tod speaking at Caltech about Arduino, IoT, hackerspaces


Every month the California Institute of Technology (Caltech, Tod’s alma mater) hosts the Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum.   This month’s topic is “The Internet of Things, Arduinos  and the ‘Maker Entrepreneur’“.

Tod will be there speaking about how Arduino, Hackerspaces, & Open Source can speed the development and creation of Internet of Things or other embedded intelligent devices.

The forum is Saturday, November 9, 2013.  Registration is open to all, $40 online or $50 at the door.





blink(1) mk2 Manufacturing Updates

We been up to a bunch of stuff since our Kickstarter closed.   On all fronts we’ve been making good progress.  In this update there’s info about:

  • Electronics
  • Enclosures
  • Software
  • API updates

We’re also having a bit of delay due to issues in getting the microcontroller chip in quantity from our vendor. We hope to have that sorted out shortly though.


In anticipation of things going smoothing, we started the electronics manufacturing for blink(1) mk2 before we got funded, in late July and early August. It was at that point we placed the order for the components and set our electronics fabricator on making circuit boards. It usually takes about a month to go from emailing PCB layout (a view of that is the image below), a bill-of-materials (BOM), and payment to a finished set of electronics to test. (aside: it’s kind of amazing that we live in the future were we can just email out designs and get functional gadgets back in quantity) Our electronics manufacturer has finished fabbing the PCBs and has started on the electronics assembly. pcb


Several weeks ago we hired a firm to start manufacturing of the enclosure pieces. This can take over a month since just building the injection molds (for both the plastic and metal pieces) takes 4 weeks. We were hoping to start that earlier, but the evaluation of different injection molding providers took longer than hoped. We wanted to be sure we found someone who could fabricate the molded anodized aluminum alloy metal frame to our tolerances. One interesting output of the enclosure manufacturing step is turning our 3D CAD models into detail diagrams. These are the ones that look like blueprints and are really great to see how 3D gets systematically flattened to 2D representations: cad


The newly rewritten version of Blink1Control is coming along nicely too. Our programming team has had a functional version working for a week now and is making the functionality have the right artwork and icons. It’s looking pretty great. Here’s a work-in-progress shot of it. software

API Updates

If you’re a developer or just like to poke around software, we’ve already updated most all the blink(1) API, libraries and sample code to work with blink(1) mk2. We’ve initially targeted blink1-tool, C/C++, and Java. You can check that out here. https://github.com/todbot/blink1/ Note that any existing blink(1) software will work with blink(1) mk2 (and vice-versa). The only thing you’ll be missing is the ability to control the individual LEDs on the mk2. There’s also the start of a new multi-modal ThingM-supported Python library that uses either PyUSB or blink1-lib via ctypes, depending on your needs. You can check it out here: https://github.com/todbot/blink1/tree/master/python