home sensors controlled by a free Web tool: IFTTT (“If This Then That”)

A techie’s San Francisco home has its own Twitter feed

in the corner of the (Coates’) living room you’ll notice something odd: a sensor, sticking out of the dirt, that’s connected to a little box. The sensor monitors a plant’s moisture, and the box transmits readings wirelessly to the Internet; it is just one of numerous Internet-connected devices in Coates’s home, which help keep an eye on everything from how warm it is to whether someone is currently in the living room.

Coates has programmed these sensor data to run the house’s very own Twitter feed. The house tweets things like “I just turned on the downstairs lights. It was getting a bit dark.” Or it might tweet “Someone just activated the Sitting Room Sensor so I’m pretty sure someone’s at home.”
As interest grows in the “Internet of things”—the idea of adding network connectivity to all sorts of normal objects—everything from desk lamps to ovens may soon come Internet-ready.

Coates relies heavily on a simple, free Web tool called IFTTT (“If This Then That”), which allows users to set automated online actions in response to specific triggers—such as sending an e-mail
IFTTT is used to turn the light on in Coates’s home office at sunset, and tweet about various goings-on
“It’s almost like the house has become a sort of pet I look after, and it expresses that being-looked-after-ness back to me,” he says. “It’s like a Tamagotchi or something.”


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