Recently folks at TheAppsLaborganized a scavenger hunt game for the KScope15 conference. In their write-up, they described the Internet-of-Things style devices they built to track people’s game progress. These devices were battery-powered, WiFi-enabled Raspberry Pis with NFC readers and blink(1)s, and probably cost less than $150 each. Amazing!
The Smart Scanner was a great way to showcase IoT. We used the beloved Raspberry Pis to host an NFC reader. We used the awesome blink(1) USB LED light to indicate whether the scan was successful or not. We also added a Mini USB Wi-Fi dongle and a high capacity battery to assure complete freedom from wires.
The Scavenger Hunt was quite a comprehensive system for people to win points in various ways, and keep track of events, points and a leaderboard. And of course, we had one Internet of Things (IoT) component that people could search for and tap to win points.
And here is the build, with powerful battery connected to it, complete with anti-theft feature, which is double-sided duct tape :) All together, it is a stand-alone, self-contained, and definitely mobile, computer.
Isn’t it cool? I overheard on multiple occasions people say it was the coolest thing at the conference.
Do you love playing games on Steam? We sure do. Awhile back, Justin emailed us saying he whipped up a handy Steam buddy indicator using the one of the Python blink(1) libraries and the Steam Web API. In just a few lines of code, his buddy indicator visually cycles through the online state of select Steam buddies.
Catch a video demo of it below. And the code to try out yourself is right here: blink(1)-steam.zip.
We have sold a lot of blink(1) notification lights to large organizations. We’ve always wondered what these companies are using our devices for and recently someone from a team within a company whose name rhymes with “voogle” contacted us and sent us this neat team tracker using blink(1)s, a Raspberry Pi, and IFTTT.
“Hi, I just wanted to send you a pic of v1 of our team status board. We’re using IFTTT connected to a gmail account to control each person’s light, e.g in the morning when they email the team to say “WFH today”, their light will turn yellow. V1 uses 13 lights and a raspberry pi connected to wifi. We have a long roadmap of enhancements (including making a better housing) but thought you might enjoy seeing the first iteration.”
It’s really neat to see how our products are being used and mapping each team member to their own blink(1) looks like a big physical IM/Skype availability status window.
It’s summer time!* and to celebrate we are having a 15% off blink(1) notification USB RGB LEDs and accessories at http://buy.thingm.com/blink1. Use discount code “solstice2015” at checkout and blink up your summer. Sale ends 6 July 2015.
If you love cables and good bargains, you should definitely check out Monoprice. Recently on Monoprice, we discovered a little $1.76 “USB Docking Station” that is a great way for making a desktop mount for blink(1). It’s really just a USB extension cable on a plastic base, but that’s so useful! See it on one of our desks below.
A couple of reviews of our blink(1) notification light have shown up recently in the French-speaking part of the Web. As English speakers, it’s always interesting to see other languages’ versions of the technical terms we use every day. French especially, see below.
Adrian on Twitter writes “Hoped to have some kind of wearable thing for @PrideWinnipeg, but I wasn’t sure I’d have time to make something. Then I remembered I have a BlinkM.” And then later: “It’s a BlinkM using strips of grocery bags under 1/3 of a ping-pong ball, sandwiched between sanded plexiglass using 1/8th bolts.”
Here’s his wearable heart that beats the flag colors. So neat!
We’re very excited to announce that our blink(1) USB notification LED is now available via Seeed Studio. Seeed is a wonderful company based in Shenzhen, China and helped ThingM manufacture blink(1). And since they’re based in Shenzhen, they’re a much closer source blink(1) from if you’re places like Australia, Japan, or Singapore. Thanks Seeed!