ThingM blog

What we think, what we like, what we make, and how we make it.

BlinkMuino updated for Arduino 1.0

I finally got around to updating the BlinkMuino guide for turning your BlinkM, BlinkM MinM, or BlinkM MaxM into a tiny ATtiny85 or ATtiny84 Arduino system. BlinkM boards make great tiny development boards, especially if you’re interested in driving LEDs. BlinkM MaxMs are particularly great because they have more inputs and those three beefy MOSFET power transistors. And MinMs are good because they’re super tiny, but still contain a fully-programmable computer.

Thankfully, the ArduinoISP sketch has also been updated for Arduino-1.0, meaning you can use your Arduino as an AVR-ISP programmer, like this:


Here’s the original video I made about BlinkMuino:

We’ll be showing off some examples of BlinkMs programmed with Arduino at Maker Faire, some say “hi”!

Internet catflap with Twine, Pi and blink(1)

On the Raspberry Pi forums, Will is working on an Internet-connected catflap using blink(1), Raspberry Pi, Twine. The Twine is the sensor (it has a tilt-detection) and the Raspberry Pi + blink(1) are the output notification. Can’t wait to see the final installation!


Here’s a video he made demonstrating the general idea.

BlinkM-controlled by iPhone via BLE and BlinkM with Xbee

Twitter user Yoshimune KITTA made two cool BlinkM hacks, complete with pictures and code. It’s really cool to see how small the code can be, thanks to powerful libraries.

The first is a Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE)-controlled BlinkM. Control BlinkM from your iPhone! The code gist: BLE Shield + BlinkM gist


The second is an Xbee-controlled BlinkM. The code gist: XbeeBlinkM


Thanks @epic_yoshimax!

ThingM at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013, come visit!


ThingM will be at Maker Faire Bay Area again, come visit us! We’ll be showing off blink(1) USB LED notifier, the entire BlinkM Smart LED family, including the wearable BlinkM MinM and the powerful BlinkM MaxM. We’ll be demonstrating cool uses of BlinkMs as part of home lighting, art installations, and using them with Arduinos & Raspberry Pis. You can even make a BlinkM into a tiny Arduino by itself.

Additionally, Mike will be giving a presentation on How Design will Reinvent Manufacturing and Tod ll be giving a presentation on how to turn an idea from Arduino sketch to a retail product, using blink(1) as an example.

Maker Faires are a huge amount of fun, packed with exciting things to see and great people to meet. Hope to see you there!


Color changing LED ornament with BlinkM MinM

Thingiverse user GearsOfWow made this really neat 3d-printed LED ornament as a gift for his wife. It contains a BlinkM MinM with a CR123-sized 3V battery.


The entire project is just 50mm square, and most of that is because of the battery. For more details about it, check out the Thingiverse page about it.

blink(1) intro video

I’ve yet to put together a proper intro / getting started video for blink(1). Here’s a minor edit of our Kickstarter video that gives the rundown of the basic idea of blink(1) and how one would use it. To learn more about blink1, check out:

And here’s a 20-second short version of the same thing:

One thing that’s pretty obvious in this video is we hadn’t settled on the final design yet, except that we wanted the light to come out the sides instead of on the top/bottom faces.


BlinkM MaxM + Atari Punk Console + ukulele = Atari Punk Ukulele.

Our buddy John Park is working on some really interesting ukulele mod using a BlinkM MaxM. It’s his Atari Punk Ukulele.


Video of Mike’s talk at SF IoT Meetup, quote in FT

Mike gave a great talk at the recent IoT Meetup

March 2013 Event: Mike Kuniavsky from SF IoT Meetup on Vimeo.

Here’s a mention of his talk on GigaOm.

And Mike was also recently interviewed for a piece in FT on US gadget manufacturing

Mike speaking at SF IoT, FlexTech Alliance

ThingM co-founder Mike will be speaking at the SF IoT Meetup on 28 Mar 2013 at Runway Incubator.  If you’re in the Bay Area, you should definitely check it out.  Get tickets here.

He’ll also be speaking at this insanely nerdy awesome thing called the “FlexTech Alliance for Displays & Flexible, Printed Electronics” on 17 April 2013 in San Jose.  His topic is “Tiny, Connected and Worn: Rapid Manufacturing, Cloud Services and Wearable Devices”.





Goodbye, Kim and THANK YOU

ThingM all hands meeting

Three and a half years ago, we hired Kim Karlsrud as a temporary project coordinator. Little did we know that she was about to become an indispensable part of the ThingM team (that’s her, second from the left). In that time she’s done everything from organizing our meetings, running our sales effort, to writing our newsletters, to advising us on ecommerce strategy. She worked with design schools to get BlinkMs into the hands of design students and give us many inspirational ideas in return. She was the glue that held so many of our half-baked, partially working ideas together. Her matter-of-fact approach effectively conceals a ruthless negotiator and hard-nosed businesswoman, a quality that we took advantage of over and over. She became a good friend to me and Tod.

So we were ecstatic when Common Studio, Kim’s social design studio with Danny Phillips, had a string of successful projects. Their Greenaid Kickstarter project started their seed bomb gumball machine business (the machines and bombs are now found in stores all over the world) and directly inspired us to do a Kickstarter project. With Common Studio’s success, we knew that it was only a matter of time that she would turn her attention to it full-time. We are very grateful for her time and support in transitioning ThingM to a post-Kim world.

Kim, thank you very much. Good luck to you and Common Studio. We will miss you.