Think of Twine as a device that ties the everyday objects in your home or office to the Internet.
Twine was one of the first big success stories for the crowd-sourced funding site Kickstarter. Its founders raised more than half a million U.S. dollars (their goal was just $35,000) to get production under way, and now their hard work has paid off. Supermechanical, the company behind Twine, has now opened up its online shop, and anyone who’s interested can now purchase Twine units.
What exactly is Twine? Supermechanical describes it as “the simplest way to get the objects in your life texting, tweeting or emailing.” The small, green box is a self-contained computer that supports an assortment of sensors and runs on two triple-a batteries. It connects to your wireless router’s signal for Internet connectivity, and that’s where the fun begins. Once connected, you can access and program Twine using your web browser — much like a network-attached storage device or media player.
Out of the box, Twine includes an accelerometer and an internal temperature sensor. That’s enough to let you set up some basic alerts — like receiving a text alert when the washing machine finishes its spin cycle or when the temperature in your crawlspace or cabin is getting unacceptably low. Supermechanical also offers a magnetic switch and a moisture sensor, which gives you even more options. You can turn the Twine into an Internet-connected basement flood detector or use it to receive an alert when the kids are trying to snoop in the closet where you hide the holiday present stash.
Twine is all about making projects like this more accessible to the average consumer. Sure, you can do all of these things with a less-expensive computing device like the Raspberry Pi if you have a knack for hardware hacking and some soldering skills. But if you just want a quick, easy, flexible system that you can buy, set up, and start using with minimal fuss, Twine is an excellent option.
Just because Twine is built for simplicity doesn’t mean Supermechanical has forgotten about DIYers, though. In addition to the extra sensors, the company offers a breakout board that allows for easy integration of just about anything you can throw at it.
Twine sells for $124.95US for the base configuration, and the add-on sensors cost $35 each — though you get a $5 discount if you purchase them together. $199.95 gets you the full package including the breakout board, and that’s a great deal if you’re thinking that you might want to get your hands dirty in the future and try building your own accessory to use with Twine.