The Social Graph + The Internet of Things

As I get ready for the Pittsburgh Maker Faire, I have been thinking about the intersection of social and objects, and just how I fit into the middle of things. As time goes on we are leaving little trails of data on social networks. Our things are becoming connected and aware of their location and environment and reporting that data to the cloud. This data will get more interesting over time. These thoughts have been lingering for quite a while as for some reason I connected my toaster to Twitter and built interactive lights that link together over social networks. My latest inspiration comes from the Social Graph and the Graph API released by Facebook.

social graph and interent_of_things

What I have created is a socially aware Elmo toy. Instead of tickling Elmo, you Twitter him or Like his Facebook page to get him going. Interestingly enough, Elmo has over 3.6 million likes on Facebook. And, he gets a few likes every minute (trust me I have been tracking him for weeks). The experiment that we are running is what will happen at the Maker Faire. We have written a plugin for ioBridge that is tuned into things, location, and the social graph using Facebook’s API. We are excited to see what will happen at the Maker Faire when makers from all over Pittsburgh come together with their location-aware devices and Facebook accounts. Visitors to the ioBridge demo area will be able to Like Elmo via a QR code. If the graph of you, us, Elmo, the location, and/or your friends all line up, Elmo will get activated in real-time. Elmo has an infectious laugh and we’ve got hear him start singing quite a few times this week.

As our things generate more data, we hope to keep pushing the limits and find meaning. Connections are forming and how we find about what are things know, “who is at the house,” and “if my basement is flooded” will be told to us like other info that we find out about our friends on the Twitter stream or the Facebook news feed or our Google Circles. In fact our friends on our graph may find out before we do.

Go Offline with ioBridge

ioBridge Control with or without the CloudioBridge offers a web-based platform for interfacing the physical world. You can connect sensors, switches, and controls to the IO-204 module and send email, update your Facebook status, or let your friends know what your power usage is on your blog without touching a single line of code. If you can click, you can create.

The IO-204 connects to your network and establishes a link to the ioBridge web services  in the “cloud”. From there you can control, monitor, and share by using a point-and-click design interface or through open APIs.

We have released a new firmware called C4.0 which allows you to go beyond the cloud. C4.0 is an explosion of new features. You can create projects and products that work with the network cable unplugged. Using the interface, you design rules and synchronize those rules to the module. Now, with or without the Internet connection, the module can make on-board decisions, turn fans on, control your lights, and sound buzzers.

The C4.0 firmware also includes high-frequency pulse counting. You may be asking yourself, “Why does pulse counting matter?” Well, pulse counting allows you to track inputs that are going on/off, around, or up and down. You can count the revolutions of your power meter. If you know how many times it spins around, you know how much power you have used. You can count the revolutions of a windmill to calculate wind speed. This feature keeps counting even if your network connection is not available.

Here’s more great news…If you already have the IO-204, you can upgrade your module to the new firmware by clicking upgrade on the module section of the interface. All new orders ship loaded with C4.0 so you get all of the new features right out of the gate.

Details regarding the new firmware are available in the ioBridge Wiki. We are excited to see what you come up with!