In an Internet of medical devices, we've got the...
Hitachi Medical is using Twine to connect their MRI machines to the Internet. Engineer Steve explains how Twine with a breakout board provides early warning of failures before they get expensive: These are superconducting magnets that use liquid helium to keep the magnet cold and in a superconducting state…. This is done using a system similar to your air conditioner at home - a...
How-To: Use Twine to monitor traffic at your front...
Most home security systems use a combination of PIR sensors and magnetic switches to monitor the activity in your house. You can easily do this with your Twine too, but without all the wiring! What you’ll need: Twine Magnetic Switch and magnet Tape or other adhesive Here’s how you’ll do it: 1. Set up a rule at twine.supermechanical.com that looks something like this: I set it up to text...
How-To: Have Twine remind you to spend less time...
Confession: I spend too much time sitting. It’s an inevitable disadvantage of having a desk job. I set up my Twine to yell at me (well, email me) whenever I’ve been sitting in my chair for too long. You can do it too! What you’ll need: Chair Twine Twine Magnetic Switch Magnets Tape or other adhesive 1. Connect the magnetic switch to your Twine and save a rule based on...
How-To: Turn your Twine into a motion sensor
The breakout board is the most underappreciated of the external sensors, but it can do so much! It can tell you if you left the lights on, or turn your Twine into a button. It’s good for when you want a solid electrical connection, or your imagination exceeds the available sensors. You know what else it can make your Twine do? See in the dark! With a PIR (Passive Infrared) sensor attached...
How-To: Save your basement from flooding with...
I know a lot of people in Texas don’t have the “luxury” of having a basement. The basement of my childhood was (and remains) a cold, musty, moist, spider-filled place. We only ventured there if a tornado was imminent. I don’t know about basements in other parts of the world; maybe they are pleasant places. My other memory basement-related memory is of my Dad spending hours dealing with it...
Twine + Cloud Shield + Arduino + Bike = A More...
Hey everybody, I’m the Other David at Supermechanical — I do a little bit of everything that relates to engineering and development here at Supermechanical. Most recently, I built Cloud Shield. As a nerd, I spend a lot of time sitting in front of my computer. I try to exercise regularly, but sometimes I get busy and forget. Twine + Cloud Shield + Arduino + Bike = A More Healthy Nerd. I...
Update 1.3.0, Improved SMS, and Phone Calls
Twine’s got a few new tricks up its sleeve, and no, this isn’t an early April Fools joke! Twine 1.3 Spring brings a new update for your Twine. Here’s what’s included: Twitter support. Now your Twine can tweet to your friends that the basement is flooding (or just @you that the laundry is done). Support for Cloud Shield. Get your Arduino project on the Internet and trolling forums in a few...
How-To: Use Twine with Cloud Shield and Arduino to...
You saw it last week in the video, and now you can do it yourself! What you’ll need: Banana (or anything conductive, like a doorknob) Arduino Twine Cloud Shield Alligator Clips 1. Connect your Cloud Shield to your Arduino. First remove power from your Arduino, then align the shield as below. A good trick to aligning the shield properly is to make sure the bottommost pins on the cloud are...
Twine + Arduino =
As spring approaches (at least in the northern hemisphere), we hope your Twine is bringing reports of warmer temperatures! We’ve got an exciting new external sensor ready, and some some details about Twine’s battery life for you. Announcing the Twine Cloud Shield Stack Cloud Shield on your Arduino, connect it to Twine, and get email, texting, calling, and more in a jiffy. With Cloud Shield,...
How-To: Make Twine see the light with a...
Heya! Risto here. Ever since I’ve started using Twine to monitor the temperature in my house, I’ve found myself obsessing over my home’s energy consumption. Using the data I’ve been logging with Twine and ThingSpeak, I have been dissecting my utility bill to find out if the majority of my electricity is being consumed by my not so cool air conditioning unit. Turns out that although my AC is the...
How-To: Quantify Productivity with Twine
Our friends over at Handsome held FinishUp Weekend last week to inspire people to get things done! Supermechanical set up some Twines around the workspace to track just what goes into finishing projects up. You can check out the results here. To keep track of coffee breaks, we set up a magnetic switch on the coffee urn so each time someone pressed the lever to up their caffeine levels, a rule...
How-To: Chart Twine's Course
Hey! My name is Risto and I do a little of everything here at Supermechanical. Most of my time is spent programming, assembling, and shipping your Twines around the world, but occasionally I get the itch to experiment with cool new ways to connect my world to the internet, like using Twine and HTTP requests to track the temperature at my house. My AC has been acting up recently at home; every now...
How-To: Tell if your Love is Mutual
If I were actually doing this for a valentine, it would probably be the most romantic gesture I’ve made in my life, ever. So, if you were waiting for the perfect Valentine’s day surprise for your loved ones, here it is! We’ll set up Twine to send an email when it senses vibration. Things you need: Twine, a stuffed animal, and needle and thread. Step 1: Surgery. Put your Mr. Monkey on the...
How-To: Push your Twine's Buttons
Confession: I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest. There are A LOT of buttons on pinterest. This button though, it’s far superior to Pinterest buttons. Want to turn your Twine into an Internet-connected button via your breakout board? We’ve got instructions for an easy button, and an Easy Button. To start off, do some background reading about your breakout board. For the easy...
It’s here! Twine 1.2! What’s included in this release: 1. Vibration sensor functionality. 2. Several small reductions in power consumption. 3. Celsius functioning, for all our international friends. 4. UI improvements, including Wi-Fi signal and battery life bars and an improved fast mode switch. To get the update, resave the rules on your Twine. Here’s everything you need to know about the...
Don’t you just hate it when you forget to put your clothes in the dryer? (Heads up: the people you live with hate it when you do that too.) Good news! Twine’s built-in vibration sensor is ready to text you when your clothes are clean. Vibration’s not showing on your dashboard? Well, resave your rules and it’ll be there! What now? First, put your Twine on top of your washing machine...
How-to: Animal Control
Hi! I’m Christina, and my Twine is named Helga. By day, we answer your questions, write blog posts like this, drink tea, and try fun things out with Twine — like monitoring the pet door. Pets can be difficult. They can’t speak so you never know exactly what they are thinking. Do they want in? Do they want out? Are they hungry? Where exactly are they? Who knows? No one, except for the dog...
How to use your Twine breakout board
Short version: The easiest way to use the Twine breakout board is to hook up a set of contacts (switch, button, wire) between the IN and GND terminals (Fig 1). When the contacts are touching, the breakout is “closed”. When they aren’t, it’s “open”. Longer version (for nerds): The breakout has three terminals: “3.3V”, “IN”, and...
One year in: A very Twine Thanksgiving
One of our customers sent us this photo of his Twine monitoring the temperature of a turkey thawing in the garage. It’s a reminder of how awesome our community’s creativity and support is — thank you. We’ve learned and done a lot in the time since we first put Twine on Kickstarter, one year ago. And we’ve got miles to go! In our latest update, we report our blessings for...
It's a ship storm!
The last month has been super busy while we switched to a new way of life — we’re been testing every single Twine and sensor, folding and packing boxes, and shipping things out the door. Until you attempt to make a couple thousand of something, you don’t appreciate that moving them is a feat unto itself. Read all about it in our latest Kickstarter update.
Well, we shipped Twine!
Today we hit a huge milestone in the history of Twine—-we started shipping! It’s been an incredible journey up to this point. We have invested thousands and thousands of hardware engineer, programmer, and designer hours; and now all of that effort is starting to pay off. Today’s shipment was modest, 25 units, but it marks the start of a momentus new era for the connected...
Let's get physical
The hundreds of physical and digital parts that make up Twine are hurtling together, and our office is getting crowded. We’ve got tons (yes, literally) of cases, circuit boards, cables, batteries, and boxes either in our workspace or on their way. We’re rushing toward feature freeze for the software. It’s getting crazy here, so crazy that we’re going to let photos do the...
"Debugging the Internet"
Backers, as we’re on the verge of shipping your rewards, it’s time to go back to the Spool website to check that we have your reward and shipping address correct. Many of you international and Canadian backers forgot add the shipping charge to your pledge, and now you can do that through the site. We have thousands of boxes to pack, and this will help things go quicker for everyone. ...
We tend to elevate artisanal, individually made objects for the exceptional care put into their creation. But as much human effort goes into making a great machine-made object. Mass production is itself an artform, and a modern miracle. We hope that our updates on the process convey this. We mentioned previously that the outer sleeves we got back the first time had some unacceptable distortion...
Color, cables, vibration
Note: If you’re a Kickstarter backer, you can update your shipping address at the Spool website we set up, under “Account”. Some of you haven’t yet signed up there - if you don’t have the registration link we sent to the email address you use for Kickstarter, send us a message. Here’s a material chip of the custom Twine Aqua color formulated for Twine’s...
Supermechanical is solar-powered
Since our last update we’ve really gotten into a productive groove here in Austin. Maybe it’s the sunshine, maybe it’s the much cheaper beer — whatever it is, it’s really been working. We finally have our own workspace, and a hardworking new intern named Tim who’s been improving the sensor software and helping with testing. Here’s where we are: Case Twine’s body is designed for injection...
It's all on the Internet now.
Howdy from Austin, where we’re getting settled in. Beta units are going out in stages, so don’t fret if you haven’t heard from us yet. John is working out some bugs in the molding process for the final case, and David is crunching away at power consumption. Thanks to his firmware work (and a sacrificed ARM processor) this week, Twine can now monitor and report on your environment...
A graduation of sorts: assembly, beta, schedule
Hello, supporters — We’ve got another action-packed update for you. But first, let’s talk about the schedule. We’ve come a long way in mere months. We’ve got what we think is final hardware, but it needs to be tested in a small batch before we spend all the money to produce thousands of Twines. We have a duty to spend your pledges wisely. We’re going to ship Twine...
String and Stone
Hey all! First of all, we have some news to share, in concert with another Kickstarter you might have heard about: We’re pleased to announce that Twine will talk to the Pebble smartwatch. In Twine’s web app, you’ll be able to relay word of real-world events, like a basement flooding or a door opening, to the Pebble on your wrist. Welcome to the future! Eric and the rest of...
Refinement is unglamorous.
Hello, backers — it’s been a while. We’ve been working as hard as ever, but refactoring C functions and moving lines by .005” do not lend themselves to blog posts. It’s the dog days of development. Remember that pile of case prototypes in the last update? We made a whole new pile, and these proved our redesign: Each model got us closer to the right fit and feel, and...
The State of Twine, and a Shipping Update.
Hello Kickstarter backers, For this week we’ve put together our most comprehensive update so far—we call it the State of Twine. This update covers all aspects of Twine: the electronics and hardware that make Twine tick, the rubbery yet firm case that protects those insides, the layers of the software that keep in constant touch with thousands of Twines and communicate with a multitude of...
Wireless signals, new hardware, and rocket fins!
Hello Twine backers, We’ve got quite a collection of new things for you in our latest Twine update. To start it off, we did a bit of wireless range testing to optimize the wireless antenna position and case enclosure material. (RF design and material compatibility can be tricky — think iPhone “Antennagate”.) A wireless test board in a prototype enclosure, another naked one,...
Crafting chocolate and cases
We’ve made a lot of progress in development in the last few weeks. (More on that in a bit.) We also crammed in a visit to our friends at Dandelion Chocolate. Since we’re all about making stuff these days, I want to give you a peek at how they make stuff, and how they’ll use Twine. Todd and Alice were nice enough to show us their new bean-to-bar chocolate factory, one of only a...
Shirts, Shoes, Service
Hello! We’ve been cranking on all cylinders, including some we didn’t know we had. Iterating on circuit board design, case design, firmware (the code that runs on Twine) and several layers of web software, while lining up production of about 20 times the number of Twines we thought we’d be making when we began this Kickstarter. That scale has also made it feasible for us to add a...
An enlightening Twine update.
Breakout boards are simply misunderstood. We’ve heard all sorts of ideas about what they might do, like let you interface Twine with all sorts of other devices, connect every possible sensor to Twine at once, end football huddles, and even make possible Twime travel. (Sorry.) If you guessed A: let you interface Twine with all sorts of other devices, give yourself a gold star. That is...
Twine: Twitter/SMS/email for your objects
We have had our heads down working like mad (because we are mad) on our new project for months, and now we’re ready to announce it. Twine is the simplest possible way to get your objects connected to the Web. It’s a 2.5” square that uses internal and external sensors to tell you about its surroundings via Twitter, SMS or email. It’s tightly paired with a web app that...
We outsourced the future.
…product and process innovation are intertwined. So the decline of manufacturing in a region sets off a chain reaction. — Gary Pisano and Willy Shih, “Restoring American Competitiveness” As manufacturing moves from the U.S. to other countries, we miss the jobs lost. But we also lose two things that continue to hurt us in the future: expertise, and the ability to create significant new...
The internet is nothing but software fabric that connects the interactions of...– Inside Google+ — How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social | Epicenter | Wired.com We agree, but forget the software part — how about just fabric that connects us?
Objects to connect us.
The Supermechanical Limited Liability Company is now online. Supermechanical makes products and experiences that mate the successful interfaces between human and object, with the efficiency of digital media. So much of electronic devices is hidden, and we don’t understand and love their nuances the way we do with ‘dumb’ objects. We want to give soul to electronics, and make...