People are making the Internet of things

It’s 2013. Where’s my flying car that folds into a briefcase?

A lot of folks feel this way, and some critical things have changed and frankly grown inexpensive enough that folks are making what they want on their own. Of course, that’s not the only factor. Another is the power of social effects as so many folks have a mobile device within three feet 24 hours a day (I don’t, but hey, whatever works for you). In the example below Nathan took an inexpensive microwave and added the sorts of features I’d think any microwave in 2013 would have. Even just setting the clock from the Internet on startup would be a huge improvement, never mind a simpler interface, and some kind of app that would make more complex cooking simpler. (I’m going to add right now that I think microwave cooking is a bad idea. Ping me if you care to hear more about that.)

For the less technical, the Raspberry Pi Nathan used is computer on a board. It cost $25. So it’s not like the larger manufacturers couldn’t include it for very little additional cost. And if the scanner were common the “microwave” food database would crowd source to useful levels in no time at all, and the food conglomerates would be happy to start including their stuff only requiring adjustments by the people.

Crowd funding sites like Kickstarter are filled with examples of watches, belts, tokens that help find other items, and all sorts of “I’m tired of waiting for the BigCo’s to make this” projects. This has been common in the software world. Something didn’t do what you want? Write the answer! Now this is becoming common with hardware.

I find this so exciting because I felt that the place where software is at its best is where it “disappears” into hardware. That the “thing” has great support in the back from a world of connectivity and processing power is great, but at its bestā€¦ not evident. There’s a lot of products to improve, and since the BigCo’s are far better at copying than they are at innovating, folks like Nathan will either show them the way, or in many cases, become the competition.

Have a look:

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