Monday, 21 May 2012

Electric Imp

Today I came across a news article on Engadget about a new development that promises to allow you to connect almost anything that uses electronics to the internet and to each other.
It's called the Electric IMP and it's essentially an ARM Cortex M3 and WiFi built into an SD card space envelope, it looks exactly like and SD card, it even has the same contacts.

To set up the WiFi connection there's an app for both the Iphone and Android devices which takes the setup information for your Wifi and then transmits them to the Imp by flashing the screen on and off, the Imp reads this data through the front of the card and sets up the WiFi.

Once connected the code, written in Squirrel, is edited in your browser, on their server (I think) and downloaded into the Imp via the WiFi connection.

The other interesting aspect is that they provide a service on their servers which allows you to connect your Imps together visually, using blocks, and writing code to interconnect them across the Internet so they can talk to each other.

You can also create virtual Imps that are used to connect to Internet services outside the Imp servers, I assume that you could set up a virtual Imp to wait for a tweet from you to switch on the lounge light and that would then be sent to you real Imp, at home, which would then switch on the light or even monitor the temperature at home with an Imp and get a virtual Imp to send you a SMS message when it reaches a certain temperature.

The possibilities seem endless. They are showing some development hardware to go with the Imps the most interesting (for me) is the Imp enabled Arduino, the Duino.

The Dunio seems to be a full standalone Arduino clone with a twist, the twist being an Imp slot instead of the normal USB connector, this means that you write the Arduino code in the Arduin IDE (modified?) and then send the code to the Duino via the WiFi so your Duino can be anywhere in the world, with a WiFi connection.

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