My Ninja Blocks Setup

Now that the fine folks at Ninja Blocks already started shipping their next generation IoT controller, the Ninja Sphere, I better write about my old school Ninja Blocks setup before it gets too late.

First off is the Watts Clever socket that I used with Ninja rules to switch a table lamp on at 8.30pm and then switch it off at 10.30pm during weekdays.

The second socket is used to switch my Tivoli radio on and off on the rare occasion when everyone is away travelling and the house is empty, you know, like Home Alone but minus the kid.

I already wrote about my use of the third socket to switch off my old dryer.

Next up is the contact sensor, it’s set up to send an email when the door is opened. I’m keeping track of the times when I leave and return home. Too bad there’s no easy way to chart the data, at least one that doesn’t involve hacking some code.

The motion sensor on the left is used to detect any movement in the living room when the house is empty, definitely not that useful without a security camera. The wireless red button on the right works, but I’m not putting it outside as a door bell since someone can easily rip it off.

The temperature and humidity sensor is set up to send an email when the house temperature rises above and drops below 30 degrees. In the summer, I would stay back in the city a bit longer when the house is too hot and wait for the evening cool change.

Here’s how the block looks like. I wrote about using the RGB LED as build status indicator, that code now lives in nestor-ninjablocks. I also use this block to test some stuffs on Ubuntu.

And here’s how the Ninja Remote looks like, it’s set up on my Android phone.

Overall, Ninja Blocks works well as a hobbyist project, sure there are some minor annoyances with actuation delay or failure, but it delivers what it promised, and I’m sure the Ninja Sphere will be heaps better.

As for IoT itself, it’s still very early days, the industry has a lot to solve before mainstream adoption becomes a reality. I think the three most critical problems in need of solution are security (please don’t hack my home, ever), energy (I’m sick of replacing batteries every so often), and interoperability (will various IoT controllers and devices work with each other?).

Looking forward to the day when my vacuum cleaner, fridge, coffee machine, rice cooker, washing machine, and dryer, can communicate with one another and coordinate themselves.

Update (18/06/2016):

Also used another Watts Clever socket on a wireless doorbell so that it only works during daytime.

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