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.
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 RealTime.io 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.