Laundry Day (Image by Erik J. Gustafson)
Laundry Day (Image by Erik J. Gustafson)

Laundry Day (Image by Erik J. Gustafson)

For ages, I’ve wanted to create an Arduino project that will sit in my laundry room (shared in a small complex) and monitor whether the machines are being used or not, so we don’t have to keep checking. I figured it could talk to my WiFi and I’d put up a site that the whole apartment complex could use.

I’ll admit, this is supreme laziness on my part because we literally share a wall with this laundry room. It takes oh, about 30 seconds to walk over and peek in. However, as someone once said, “If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness must be its father.” Plus, it just seemed like a good, straightforward project to learn more about Arduino, the DIY microcontroller hardware kit. So, I got as far as taking an Arduino workshop, and then life took over – the project got relegated to the backburner. But now, a kickstarter project called Twine has beat me to the punch (and bank) by creating a cool new product for just this sort of scenario!

Enter Twine!

Twine is a 2.5 inch square of plastic that has WiFi, temperature and vibration sensors and expansion capability for other sensors. It talks to a web application called Spool that allows you to “program” the Twine with simple rules, and monitor it from anywhere.

 

The rules are built using an array of available conditions and actions. If you’ve ever programmed rules for your email, this looks pretty similar. Something like ‘WHEN moisture sensor gets wet, THEN tweet me!’

Screenshot of Spool

Screenshot of Spool

Your Very Own Internet Of Things

The Twine website actually mentions the laundry scenario so they clearly have my needs in mind.  Out of the box, it can sense temperature, vibration and orientation. With expansion, it can do more, so for e.g. you could also get notified when your basement floods. What’s especially great about this product is the versatility and simplicity of the solution. You buy one product but it has multiple possibilities – Today you can use it to monitor your laundry, next week it could babysit your neglected herb garden. Buy a couple and you have your very own Internet of Things, how neat is that?

Got any cool ideas for ways to use Twine? Let me know in the comments!

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