The hit Kickstarter product hopes to popularize “the Internet of things” with thoughtful product design.
A year ago, two MIT Media Lab graduates raised half a million dollars on Kickstarter to create Twine, a cigarette-pack-sized chunk of Internet magic that promised to turn any object in your home into a web-connected, interactive “smart product.” Want your basement pipes to send you a text message when they’re in danger of freezing up, or your garage door to ping you if you forget to close it? No problem: With Twine, building your own personal “Internet of things” is supposed to be easier than programming a VCR. And now that the product is available for purchase, it looks like creators John Kestner and David Carr have very nearly delivered on that ambitious promise.
Twine is packed with sensors that detect temperature, moisture, and position, but it’s as light, small, and unassuming as a pack of gum. “It’s just a solid chunk of connectivity,” Kestner says. “We settled on elastomer [for the outer case]–it feels great to the touch, and reads as durable, friendly, and decidedly non-electronic.”
Once your Twine is set up, the dashboard in your Web browser invites you to set up “rules” (which are actually simple programs) for telling it what to do.
Twine’s real genius: its complete non-jetpackiness. It doesn’t look or feel futuristic. Which makes it so much easier to imagine its capabilities–which are undeniably futuristic–actually becoming the new normal.