For a good number of years there has been a silent force driving engineers to make engineering simpler. Building an electronic prototype takes a matter of hours with Arduino. SaaS (Software as a Service) companies which do the heavy lifting for programmers have dramatically reduced build times. Twilio brought order to our complicated phone systems by building a ridiculously simple API for them. The barrier to entry for engineering is quickly being broken down. What exotic project was normally a fantasy for most is now being realised thanks to this new set of tools with the groundwork done.
A world of makers is an exciting thought. Where anyone who can wire a plug can build a system to wirelessly control a coffee maker. Wemo Maker is the latest gadget in this trend of easy-engineering devices aimed at those with only a basic level of electronic knowhow who don’t want to learn but just get stuff done.
Wemo Maker simplifies the process making electronics smartphone controllable by handling the communication between the two.
Furthermore the device can be controlled by the mobile’s sensors and IFTTT (If This Then That) – the powerful trigger-to-output service which hosts a vast collection of inputs and outputs. Users could activate Wemo Maker by sending a tweet for example.
We wanted to simply control our nerf gun with a mobile, and it turned out to be our simplest hack yet (see here).
Once Maker had created its wifi network it was just a case of plugging in the wires which bypass the trigger. The Wemo app presented us with an on/off button to trigger the relay with and it’s response time was almost instantaneous, firing nerfs in all directions.
Those with a little more experience in electronics and programming might prefer an Arduino over the £70 Wemo Maker. But for everyone else it’s the perfect solution to get up and running fast with little or no knowhow.