Twine PackagingUpdate 2014-11-16: You should read my Twine Update if you are considering the purchase of a Twine.

Twine was one of those Kickstarter projects that really blew up. Supermechanical asked for $35K and ended up raising more than $550K. The project was funded at the beginning of 2012, so the funders have been waiting a while for their Twine. Mine arrived this week.

The project has been sending updates on their progress over the past few months. Anyone contemplating a hardware project would be wise to take a look at Supermechanical’s blog to get a taste of what such a project may be like. They’ve posted on all sorts of topics from PCB fabrication to injection molding to shipping boxes. Speaking of boxes, they did a bang-up job on the packaging (see photo). I wasn’t expecting much from the packaging since the project had many, more pressing issues to deal with, but they put some effort into the packaging, which goes a long way towards making a good first impression.

Since this is an internet connected device, one of the things I was really interested in was how they handled the initial setup. The Twine doesn’t have a display for output nor does it have a keyboard or a mouse for input–not even a reset button. So, how does one select which wifi network to join and enter the password? They’ve made it easy, the instructions are simple. Install the included batteries, go to the Twine setup web site and follow the instructions. The setup process basically puts the Twine in adhoc network mode so one can connect to it with another wifi enabled device with a browser. This allows one to select the proper wifi network and enter a password if needed. Supermechanical did a great job on this interface, and the setup process. It gets the Twine set up quickly and with little effort.

Once the Twine is set up, one can see its current state (temperature and orientation, currently) on the Twine website. The same web site is used to create rules for the Twine. Currently, the rules can be triggered on an orientation change or when the temperature passes a certain set point. When triggered, the action can be lighting the onboard LED, sending an email, SMS or HTTP request. To make the Twine a bit more extensible, some additional work needs to be done on the available conditions, and it appears that this is will probably happen in the near future.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the Twine, and I’m eager to see what they do with it in the coming months. The beginnings of a good community are forming in the Twine forums and the people from Supermechanical are very engaged, so I think the future is bright for this device.

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