Ninja Blocks is a Australian startup that pledged to use Canonical’s Snappy Ubuntu Core OS for its Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the Kickstarter startup raised $102,935. The Ninja Block is a cloud based device that connects with your things to the web (Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook and more). It is controlled with “if this then that” style tasks.
How Ninja Blocks work
Ninja Blocks are open source devices that are backed by their web service called Ninja Cloud. It’s a simple yet powerful concept. The blocks that are connected to the cloud allows you to talk to your favorite web apps.
On it’s final design of the product, a Ninja block came with: Two RGB LED lights, built in accelerometer and temperature sensor. It also came with four expansion ports and a regular USB port which allowed the users to add further inputs and outputs.
You didn’t have to write a single line of code to customize your Ninja blocks. The Ninja Cloud automatically allows the users to control their ninja blocks.
Tasks Ninja Blocks Performed:
You could create tasks by logging into Ninja Cloud. Triggers and Actions made up the tasks. Your Ninja blocks can perform tasks like:
- Asking Siri to turn on the lights
- When movement is detected, your Ninja Block can take a picture anywhere you put the camera on and upload it to Dropbox Cloud. So say you wanted to take a picture of your unwanted visitors at your front yard, you could do that
- Receive a text whenever your friends are playing on Xbox One S
- Whenever a package is left at your door unattended, you can receive a notification
- You can set Ninja blocks to turn on the lamp on your kitchen if your baby is crying, very useful right?
Some Example Triggers of Ninja Blocks:
- “Ninja Block has detected Movement”
- “Temperature has risen above the maximum threshold”
- “Someone has tagged you in a photo on Facebook”
- “Someone has tweeted about you”
- “Someone has pushed the front door button”
- “Ninja Block has detected sound”
- “Whenever someone from your friend list has checked in”
Example Actions Performed by Ninja Blocks:
- “It can display a text on LCD display“
- “Ninja Blocks can play a sound”
- “It can send a tweet on behalf of you”
- “Ninja Blocks can open a relay”
- “You can turn on the lights whenever you’re not home”
- “It can send an SMS to your phone”
- “It can post a message on Facebook on behalf of you”
Ninja Blocks uses channels which are your favorite web apps and sensors and actuators to trigger actions.
Ninja Blocks comes pre-built with Accelerometer and Thermometer. You can add additional external sensors to sense current, humidity, motion, distance, sound, light, capture a photo or video. The developers also promise to add many more sensors in future.
The built in 2 RGB LED’s are used for notifications. Four additional expansion port that come with each Ninja block allows it to perform tasks by controlling lights, infra-red, relays, motors and other actuators.
Integrated with the web apps you use daily
Ninja Blocks come with support for:
- Google Docs
- SMS and Phone
- Xbox Live
They are looking forward to integrating with Siri, Weather, RSS and more.
Ninja Block comes with a built-in ethernet port. The built-in usb port supports wifi and other wireless modules. You can connect internet anytime.
Ninja Blocks Hardware
The developers of Ninja blocks kept their Hardware open so other developers can improve the design. The hardware designs are available in CAD files and provided under a creative commons share-alike license. Which means you are free to download and improve based on your needs.
Simple To Set Up
The developers of Ninja blocks wanted to make the device easy to use so everyone can use them without effort. All you have to do is plug in your Ninja Block into your network via the ethernet port and go to NinjaBlocks.com in your browser. You can start commanding your Ninja Blocks now.
Ninja Block comes with 55 sensors and many more to come. The 5 additional sensors are:
- Light – You can use this to sense whenever a light is turned on/off
- Humidity – This helps you check the moisture of your room
- Distance – It can measure when something is approaching, a door opening for an example
- Motion – It can detect any movement and alert you
- Push Button – The push button will turn things on or off