Internet of Thinx
The Internet Of Things to everyone with a computer or smartphone.
The idea is similar to Ninja blocks but I want a simpler physical form, minimal or no wiring and modular components with flexible data connectivity between modules and with the internet.
Who would use this? Well, I would, which is why I'm making them! Anyone who reads hackaday or has an interest in Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Beagle Bone should be interested also as the modules will be made to be hacked, modded and generally pushed to their limits. With some good marketing and product placement, the system and concept should be pitchable as a high-tech 'toy' that could be used by kids and adults - see Firebox for other such gadgets and gizmos...
At the core of Thinx is a network-enabled base station that acts as the comms hub, charging and reprogramming station. First thoughts are to use a Raspberry Pi as the brains, running a web server. The web server would provide a user interface that could configure a module then back-end code will upload new hex files onto the module's microprocessor. To reprogramme a module you would drop it on the base station, log into the website and with a few clicks, make a new programme using a visual drap-and-drop system or download one from a community site.
Each Thinx module would have short-range comms with its neighboughs, a small battery and the ability to plug in external power supplies (mains, bigger battery modules, solar...)
Modules could include sensing Thinx (air pressure, temperature, light, sound, Gieger counter...) action Thinx (servo, motor, speaker, LEDs, RGB colour lights, matrix displays...)
Specialised comms Thinx would allow a group of Thinx modules to talk back to the base station and on to the internet. Comms could include wired or wireless (433MHz serial, near field technology, IR...) and could even include GSM/cell or wifi such that a collection of Thinx could operate 'in the wild' without a base station.
Physically, each Thinx should be sleek, tactile, intuitive and NOT a boring box with a USB plug! To make things more complicated, each module will be able to connect to another such that a set of Thinx can be snapped together to make a functional device (eg solar + battery + pressure sensor + temperature sensor + comms = simple outdoors weather station)