Tag Archives: IFTTT

Koto smart sensors for a healthier home

Koto smart sensors allow you to monitor your indoor environment right from your phone, computer and tablet.

Sleep accounts for about a third of an average human’s entire lifespan, so we all deserve a good night’s sleep every time. While a better mattress is the first step to this, the room environment such as the temperature and the air we breathe can be a factor, too. Sleeping shouldn’t be this hard or expensive, but for some, it can be. Thankfully, a team of engineers and designers have created a simple and affordable solution.


From the makers of CubeSensors, Koto smart sensors are small unobtrusive sensor-laden devices that are deployed around your home or office where they measure things like noise, temperature, light and humidity, monitor your indoor environment and let you know when you can make minor improvements that’ll keep both your abode and family healthy. By doing something as effortless as turning on the light and dialing up the A/C, an accompanying app will then advise you on how to make those rooms more conducive to working, resting and remaining in good shape.


How it works is pretty straightforward. To begin, you simply place the Koto smart sensors in your desired locations and then check its companion app, following the advice it dishes out. Each of the sensors sync data directly with your smartphone via Bluetooth if you’re nearby or transmit the information over to your laptop if behind the computer. The app lets you know exactly what you need to change for each room in real-time, so you can sleep better, stay healthy, save money and energy, and be more productive, among many other benefits.

The smart sensors will be available in three different versions: Blink, Air and Storm. The Koto Blink is the entry-level device and is able to measure temperature, humidity, light and noise. The Koto Air, which is said to be the best option for bedrooms and nurseries as it adds monitoring of dust and air pollution levels, enabling it to give you advice on keeping healthier. Finally, the Koto Storm includes a minimalistic LED matrix display for showing environmental readings, instant alerts and notifications, along with being able to be used as a clock.


And that’s not all, the Koto Storm ensures that you’re always just a glance away from home by connecting to your Wi-Fi network. This particular unit is also packed with indoor sensors and can even detect approaching storms, so you can plan your outdoor activities better and safeguard your home during hurricane or blizzard season.

What’s nice is that Koto sensors have their own IFTTT channel, which allows them to send instructions to your smart thermostat, lights and other intelligent appliances around your connected home. Now, your house can finally act on real-time data based on measurements from the parts of your home that you use the most.


Furthermore, the crew has developed an API that lets developers easily integrate their sensors with their own apps or automation systems.

Interested? Head over to Koto’s Indiegogo campaign, where the team is currently seeking $50,000. Delivery is slated for March 2016.

Building an estimated time of arrival device with littleBits

The Honest ETA device lets your housemate know when you’re likely to arrive home.

You’ve all been there: You tell your spouse that you’re on your way home, when in actuality you’ve yet to leave the office. As part of a recent collaboration between littleBits and Popular Science, one new project is looking to put an end to missed dinner dates, late arrivals and the altogether annoying habit of never being home when you said you’d be! In other words, no more “Honey, where are you?” messages.


The aptly named Honest ETA Device was created to let a housemate — whether that’s a parent, a significant other or a college roomie — know when you are on the way home, and more importantly, likely to arrive. The cloud-connected progress meter tracks your whereabouts by reading your smartphone’s location and then displays it on a bargraph module inside the house.

Honest ETA employs a GPS-enabled mobile device, coupled with some IFTTT recipes, the cloudBit and a bargraph to show your proximity. IFTTT recipes are set up using a location channel, tasked with triggering when you enter or exit a pre-set radius.

Given that there are five LEDs on the bargraph, the littleBits team programed five radii, each with recipes related to entry and exit. This allows you to keep tabs on someone as they come and go. Upon leaving the office (or the gym, class, or wherever else you may be), your smartphone will notify the cloudBit as you start to make your way home by illuminating the LEDs on the bargraph. The LEDs will continue to light up the closer that you get.


The project is also equipped with an MP3 player (ATmega168) and speaker, so that you can play a song of your choice when you’re only minutes away. If you happen to make it home first, however, an IFTTT SMS recipe will enable you send a text to your housemate with the press of a button, letting them know that you have indeed made it back safely.

On top of that, littleBits shares a nifty little idea to round out the design. Why not turn the circuit into an interactive wall piece that both displays your progress and holds your wallet? Using just a small hinged platform that sits directly on top of the button, the act of placing your wallet inside the case will automatically press the button, thereby sending a text message. Its creators note that you can add some acrylic edge lighting to the bargraph for nice visual effect, too.


Sound like a project you can benefit from? Hurry over to littleBits’ official page to get started. There, you will find a detailed step-by-step breakdown to help you bring your own ETA device to life, or simply watch the video tutorial below!

IFTTT debuts three new apps to automate your connected world

Do empowers you to create your own personalized button, camera, and notepad.

With the rise of the Internet of Things and smart devices, a growing number of Makers and developers alike have turned to IFFTT (“If This, Then That”) to automate online and mobile actions through “recipes.” Since its launch in 2011, IFTTT has expanded throughout the consumer market, offering integration with many of today’s most popular gadgets from Fitbit to HP printers to Hue lightbulbs.


Despite its popularity, the barrier to entry has been a bit limited to techies willing to browse through channels to create recipes. That was until now. The company has announced the launch of three free new apps for both iOS and Android — Do Button, Do Camera and Do Note — that will make setup as simple as a touch of a button. The suite of Do apps are designed to dumb-down the process by letting users drag-and-drop tools they want to connect and customize recipes through a minimalistic UX. Along with that, IFTTT has rebranded its original app to a much more simple “IF.”


Do Button enables users pair web tools and turn the function into a shortcut widget right on their home screen for everything from their Google Drive to Nest Thermostat, among countless other apps. For instance, you can now set the living room to your favorite temperature or open the garage door all with the tap of a button.

Do Camera possesses similar functionality, allowing users to create actions to share their photos in a much more expedited manner. Now, you can post photos to the Facebook album of choice, or quickly distribute on Tumblr or WordPress pages.

Do Note is a quick text entry app that will take a particular command and instantaneously send it out, whether it’s an appointment in Google Calendar, an added item on the grocery list, or even a quick tweet. You can also use voice commands to trigger a recipe.


At the moment, you can only program up to three recipes on the Do apps. However, IFTTT CEO Linden Tibbets says the team is working on ways to make saving recipes easier for swapping, as well as offering recommended recipes they might enjoy. As the number of connected devices continues to proliferate, expect Do to have a supporting role in the automation process.

IF you’re interested in learning more, THEN you should read more here.

This IFTTT surfboard clock shows wave height

This simple, cloud-connected surfboard clock displays the wave height in Newport, Rhode Island.

If you’ve ever seen a surfing movie like Maverick, then you know experienced surfers will tell you that the best time to catch a wave is generally in the morning. But before doing so, they must tune-in to reports to hear about the swell. And, while most folks in New England could only dream of hitting the beach, soaking up rays and hanging ten at the moment, self-proclaimed culture hacker Zachary McCune has designed a slick cloud-connected display that reports the height of waves right from home. After all, summer isn’t that far away.


The appropriately-named Tide Machine is a simple clock-like device that uses IFTTT to collect Surfline reports and sends the data to a built-in cloudBit and servo littleBits module (ATtiny25). Aesthetically, the project is merely a small box with the numbers 1-4 and a surfboard as a dial, which provides updates on the tide heights every five minutes. Depending on the waves for that particular day, the dial will move and point to the corresponding number to indicate tide heights.

The time-lapse video below shows the build from beginning to end, while a how-to log of the Tide Machine can be found here. Surf’s up, Makers!

Qmote is a one-click remote for your smartphone

Qmote is an intuitive, single-button remote control which lets you perform actions on your phone, even when it’s out of reach.

From your television to your fireplace, it seems like just about everything is remote-controlled in today’s constantly-connected world. So why not your smartphone, too? That’s what this guitar pick-like product is aspiring to do. Created by the Qblinks crew, Qmote is a single-button control to help users perform a variety of actions on their mobile device, particularly when it’s out of reach.


Think of when you’re driving and need to start navigation, or when your alarm sounds in the morning and you don’t want to fumble around for your phone to shut it off. Now, Qmote is giving users quick and easy access to the most common functions they perform daily.

“It is estimated that in today’s society, each person pulls their phone out of their pocket at least 150 times per day. We use so many apps and are always digging around for when we need to just do one simple thing like make a phone call,” explained Qblinks Co-Founder Samson Chen. “With Qmote, you can create your own sequence that makes interactions with your smartphone and smart home more convenient, ensuring that you’re easily accessing what matters the most to you.”


The smart remote connects to your mobile device through an app via Bluetooth Smart. You can program Qmote with up to 10 different actions for specific click patterns, something that can come in handy for smart home applications, including Nest, WeMo and Hue. For instance, one click to turn your lights on, or two clicks to play a file from your music library. Needless to say, the multifunctional Qmote will remove the hassle of having to look for a phone and search through a myriad of apps.

Designed with mobility in mind, Qmote can link to keychains to use on-the-go or affix to flat surfaces for more permanent access. With a brushed metal exterior that is water-resistant, the tiny yet sleek device maintains functionality in any environment — whether indoors or out in the rain.


As seen with a number of other smart gadgets, Qmote integrates entirely with IFTTT. What this means is that users can now access an assortment of channels and set up various actions based purely on their own desires and routines. Firmware updates for the all-in-one button will be sent over-the-air to compatible with smartphones including iPhone 4S or later, iPad 3 or later, and Android devices on 4.4 and above.

What’s more, Qblinks designed their gadget with Makers in mind. “As such, we want to equip you with the capability to explore what you can do with it. The Qmote Maker’s Module has all the functionality of a standard Qmote device, with the added feature of enhanced control input via UART with AT commands. The Maker’s Module works with the same app and is also fully integrated with IFTTT,” the company writes. “With UART, Qmote functions easily in conjunction with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or any other development board. Without any knowledge of Firmware or app programming, you can easily send messages regarding your project to any IFTTT-enabled Internet platform.”


Interested in learning more? You can head over to its Kickstarter page, where the team is currently seeking $20,000. looking to raise $20,000 USD for production on Kickstarter. If all goes to plan, shipping is slated for May 2015.

ButterBot is an automated buttermilk-churning machine

This littleBits contraption makes a mean glass of buttermilk.

Rather than with a cup ‘o joe, Maker Milind Sonavane kicks off every day with some freshly churned buttermilk for breakfast. As you can imagine, making buttermilk can certainly be a time consuming process, so Sonavane decided to build an automated ButterBot to simplify his morning routine.


“The Indian way of making buttermilk involves churning curd to and fro to get the fat out as butter, and leave the liquid behind as buttermilk. This is usually done with a wooden stirrer and a rope wrapped around it – tugging on either ends of the rope makes the stirrer churn the life out of the fat,” our friends at littleBits write.

The ButterBot expedites this process using an ATtiny25 powered servo motor, along with a cloudBit module to handle the time-bound automation.


“We didn’t want to get into the complexities of gearing and wanted the device have an earthy feel to it. So we got two plates of wood turned on a lathe, used one as a plate for the servo motor, the other as a holder for the churner, held the two together with a piece of laser cut acrylic and connected the motion with a piece of red twine,” Sonavane explains.


How it works is super easy. Every morning at 8am, an IFTTT recipe tells the cloudBit to activate the tinyAVR based servo which moves the rope to and fro, churning the buttermilk for 20 minutes straight. The milk then sits for five minutes as the butter rises. At 8:30, when the buttermilk is ready, another IFTTT recipe turns the ButterBot off. Once completed, Makers can add milk to the bowl and leave the curd to set for the next day.

Looking to jumpstart your morning with buttermilk? You’ll have to check out Sonavane’s entire build here.

Get notified each time you’re tagged on Instagram — through scent

Created by Instructables Design Studio artist Paige Russell, the Scent-imental Notification System releases a predefined scent whenever you’re tagged by a friend on Instagram.


The project utilizes an ATmega32U4 based Arduino module, a littleBits cloudBit, IFTTT, a few custom hashtags, and of course, scented oils. The housing for the unit is comprised of laser-cut plywood.

v02 Arduino

How it works is relatively simple. Using the littleBits cloudBit and IFTTT, as its name implies, the system notifies a user whenever a picture of them is posted on Instagram. The device is equipped with scents that are triggered by three different hashtags, which for Russell were #pupsforpaige, #cheekynature, and #snickersnort.


Each tag activates a designated servo — controlled by the ATmega32U4 module — that release a drop of oil onto a heated glass surface. The scent is then diffused up into the air and fanned towards the user by a servo fan behind the glass. The Arduino determines which servo to activate by reading an incoming voltage from the cloudBit.

Watch in action below! Interested in devising a notification system of your own? You can find a step-by-step breakdown of the build on its official Instructables page, as well as read littleBits’ featured write-up here.

LaMetric is a hackable and smart real-time ticker display

Let’s face it, in today’s constantly-connected, digital-savvy and always-on-the-go world it’s easy to be bombarded with a plethora of information — some useful, while some not so much. The Smart Atoms team has created a highly-customizable smart ticker that tracks everything important to you in real-time. Dubbed LaMetric, the hackable gadget is a suitable match for both home and office life with its multi-faceted functionality and stylish design.


Three elegant touch buttons on the top of the device let a user to switch between items, while its sleek form factor allows for it to be placed wherever desired. LaMetric can also synced to web through its companion application via both WiFi and Ethernet. Meanwhile, a trio of widgets let enable the ticker to be connected to anything on the web, meaning anything from the latest RSS newsfeed to IFTTT ‘recipes’  to a mailbox can now be accessed and displayed in real-time.


LaMetric is comprised of a main board equipped with WiFi, a LED screen, a touch button sensor board, speaker for audio alerts and Ethernet, while is powered by a micro-USB. As its official page notes, the gadget is designed to brightly display up to seven digits (any numbers up to 9 million) in color icons on one screen, with full-width scrolling text and smooth animations as well.


The ticker exhibits metrics for a wide-range of things, ranging from social media to stock prices, which are provided in the form of notifications that a user can replied to by simply tapping its top-middle button. For instance, if you have a meeting notification pop up, just press the “action” button and scroll through various responses, such as notifying attendees you will be five minutes late or declining the meeting altogether. Or when LaMetric notifies you of a new Facebook message, simply hit the button to open the social network on your web browser.

Heading outside? Before leaving, allow LaMetric to provide you with real-time weather information for that exact moment, never forgetting an umbrella again.


Its real-time display can even track several other metrics including to-do lists, fitness goals and even stopwatch-like countdowns. t even caters to athletes, with task and fitness goals and a programmable interval timer for CrossFit.

LaMetric takes automation to another level as well, allowing you to pair it with IFTTT to report like your favorite team scores, when your kid arrives at school, when your spouse is leaving work, and even reminds you of everyone’s birthday and anniversaries.

Heck, businesses can even use it, too! According to Smart Atoms, the LaMetric can serve as a useful tool for the workplace, with features like displaying Facebook likes, receiving money on PayPal, tracking website visitors, making conversions and other key business metrics. The company also hopes that it will keep teams in the enterprise motivated, with a variety of metrics serving as positive reinforcement.


Ideal for tinkerers of all levels, LaMetric allows users to mod a variety of icons, scrolling text, metrics and changes, goals, days, trends and sounds. As its team explains, you don’t need to be a hacker with advanced tech skills to enjoy the gizmo. In fact, you can do it by using the LaMetric mobile app or sending a DIY message to LaMetric’s email.

Having recently completed its Kickstarter, the team was able to garner just over $370,000 — well over its original $69,000 pledge goal. Since then, Smart Atoms are finalizing the enclosure, PCB and apps process, which you can read all about on their updates page here.

Interested in a real-time ticker for your home or office? Head over to its official website here. In the meantime, you can also check out how one team of Makers recently created their own DIY real-time ticker that displays information on when trains will be arriving at the nearest metro station.

ADT teams up with IFTTT to customize home security

With the smart home market prepared to surge, home security leader ADT has fostered a new partnership with web automation service If This Then That (IFTTT).


ADT Pulse, the company’s existing automation service, will now include the capability for users to communicate with the hundreds of channels controllable by IFTTT. According to Mashable, this new partnership will allow developers and users to create recipes that work with door locks, thermostats, lights, cameras, appliances, and the main security system.

“We like to think of it like Lego pieces — you can make whatever you want out of it,” Arthur Orduna, ADT Chief Innovation Officer tells Mashable. “We are trying to be really cognizant of how people consume things today and do everything we can to make everything on demand.”

The newfound IFTTT integration will open up new opportunities for consumers such as receiving a live feed of their doorstep as the doorbell rings. With countless possible command “recipes,” ADT hopes users will have a simplified, personalized experience. Some of these proposed IFTTT recipes suggested by ADT include:

  • If a wearable changes from “sleep” to “awake,” then disarm the ADT Pulse security system.
  • If phone alarm goes off at 6:45 a.m., then turn on the ADT Pulse-connected coffee machine.
  • If Life360® family members are away from home, then lock ADT Pulse-connected doors and arm ADT Pulse security system “away.”
  • If the temperature outside is above 85 degrees, then change an ADT Pulse-connected thermostat to 70 degrees.
  • If a user texts “DogDoor”, then unlock the ADT Pulse-connected back door.
  • If the doorbell rings, then send me an ADT Pulse real-time video clip of the front door.
  • If the sun sets, then turn on ADT Pulse-connected outdoor lights.

While a customizable experience is highly desirable for home security users, there are inherent risks of opening a secure platform to countless new applications. With countless applications having access to a home’s security measures, there is undoubtedly a reason to be concerned about possible hacking.

Writing for CNETRy Cris relayed these concerns to ADT, which revealed that the team is promising to take things slow. “Exposing an existing home security system to so many new devices at once could potentially expose it to new vulnerabilities, however. If a third-party device that’s capable of turning the alarm off through IFTTT is easily hacked, for instance, that’s a real problem.”

“By integrating with IFTTT, ADT suddenly becomes compatible with dozens of new Web tools and third-party connected gadgets. It’s potentially, a very savvy defensive play, as small-scale, forward-thinking security startups with an eye on automation seem to be gaining traction,” Cris adds.

The new IFTTT channel will go through several months of beta testing before ADT opens it up to the public next year. At that point, the group aspires to have accounted for any possible security breaches.

Speaking of simplifying home programming with IFTTT, a team of computer science researchers from Brown and Carnegie Mellon universities recently adapted a method of programming known as “trigger-action” to more effectively communicate with IoT smart home devices.

littleBits connects your things to the Internet

In what the company hopes will alter the perception of littleBits from toy to tool, the electronics kit manufacturer today announced a new component that’ll allow any littleBits creation to the become an Internet-connected ‘thing’ without the need to solder, wire or program for basic projects.

According to CEO Ayah Bdeir, the newly-unveiled cloudBit kit enables the average person to now easily contribute to the Internet of Things “without wasting time prototyping devices from scratch,” she explained to Engadget


“We look at the spectrum and on the one side they’re developing these devices that are closed and complex and on the other side we have the Makers who are alone in their garages with soldering irons coming up with one-off devices,” Bdeir tells TechCrunch.

The cloudBit connects to a littleBits dashboard, through which Makers have the ability to remotely control their circuits and get a performance readout in real-time. The company partnered with IFTTT, a service that enables basic programming with simple “if this, then that” commands, to open up hardware integration with web services like Facebook, Instagram, Gmail, Twitter, Google Drive and others.

“In the beginning… a lot of the stuff you could do with it was sort of more boyish and playful, so that’s what the world saw us as. Since the beginning of the year we’ve been launching more powerful modules.”

Modules — such as the ATmega32u4-powered Arduino module and today’s WiFi-enabled cloudBit — are now raising the bar of complexity for potential littleBits projects. “If you wanted to recreate a Nest or recreate a Sonos or a DropCam, you could. If you wanted to create the next billion dollar idea, you could do that as well. It’s about versatility, and the more modules LittleBits creates, the more it has.” As Engadget reportsBdeir is hoping that the kits will be soon be used for rapid prototyping of new ideas, in addition to being a fun hobby toy.


Aside from cloudBit, the company has now begun selling a Cloud Starter Bundle, which comes with six prototyping modules, an insert card with five tutorials, and two accessories to connect everyday objects to the Internet. Between the cloudBit, the Arduino module and the 262 other components available in littleBits’ Pro Library, it looks like there’s now more than enough tech available to move beyond the “toy” perception.

“What we want to do is turn the hardware industry on its head from something that is top down and controlled to something that is inviting to everyone,” Bdeir said.

To say that Bdeir is an evangelist of her company, Makers and the Internet of Things is an understatement. “I once wrote a paper about turning electronics into raw material, in a way as tactile as cardboard and foam,” she tells Wired. “Today, the new interaction is the Internet as material.”

The company has also announced a partnership with RadioShack, which becomes the company’s first brick-and-mortar retailer. littleBits will be available in select markets by next month and in 2,000 retail locations starting this Fall, according to a company spokesperson.