– BlinkM and Arduino 0012
– BlinkM MaxM available in the next couple of weeks
– WineM on hold
– ThingM in Wired
– Recent presentations
– Appearances,
– Unsubscribe

The long pauses between ThingM newsletters can only mean one thing: we’re REALLY busy. We have a number of projects that we’re working on that we hope to announce by the end of the year. Until then, we’ve been working on getting the BlinkM MaxM into the market, and that should be happening very soon (see below).

Although we usually use to distribute tech support information, we have gotten a number of emails in the recent past to justify a more formal announcement. The Arduino team recently released a new version of their software, 0012. This version fixes and number of bugs and adds a number of features. Unfortunately, the BlinkM software breaks under this release.

This doesn’t affect the BlinkMs themselves, but until we’ve had a chance to update the BlinkM Communicator software, please use Arduino 0011 IDE to program the BlinkM. It’s available on the standard Arduino download page, if you scroll down to the bottom:

BlinkM MaxM, the ultrabright BlinkM that can drive incredibly bright LEDs (it comes with three blindingly bright LEDs, which are designed to pop off so that you can put even brighter LEDs, or strings of LEDs in their place) will be available from a number of our distributors in the next couple of weeks. It has a number of innovative features:
– It can drive really bright LEDs (of course!)
– It runs on 12v, so it’s suitable for automotive applications, running off of lead-acid batteries, and bulb-replacement in many track lighting systems (though only for prototyping and experimentation in all cases).
– It has two input lines, so that it can change between stored programs based on external input. We hope to update the Sequencer to use this capability soon, but initially it’ll be limited to programming with the API, which expanding slightly to include this functionality. All existing BlinkM software should run without requiring any changes on the MaxM.

The price should be a little more than $20 apiece.

It’s with a heavy heart that we’ve decided to announce that we’re putting the WineM smart wine rack on hold. Our working prototype was a huge success, and we’ve learned an immense amount about how to develop a product for the Internet of Things, but the logistics of manufacturing something as large and complex as a new class of appliance proved to be more than ThingM, a two person company, could manage. We’ve decided to wait a while before we try to build the full wine rack. However, we believe there’s an incredible potential in unifying wine with its information shadow and we have a number of other wine-related products in the works. One of our prototypes even made it into the November issue of Wired magazine (see below)!

Wired Magazine’s November issue has an article on Open Source hardware, focusing on the story of the Arduino. Apart from being tickled to see so many of our friends interviewed together, we’re very proud to have a beautiful photo of our prototype wine RFID readers in the story. The prototype demonstrates a couple of things: that desktop RFID is coming and that desktop manufacturing is here. The prototype consists completely of off-the-shelf parts and Tod made the enclosure using his desktop laser cutter.

The Wired story is available online here:

Tod talked about how to make 3D designs using only 2D parts in his Sketching in Hardware presentation:

Speaking of Sketching in Hardware (, we had a fantastic time organizing it at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. The fantastic folks at Tellart ( helped us get the space, get organized on the ground, and told us which bars to go to in the evening.

I put the presentations online and, frankly, haven’t gotten around to designing a page for them, but if you want a glimpse into the cutting edge of thinking about how design, art and ubiquitous computing intersect, the Sketching presentations are a great resource:

In addition, I’ve put a number of my recent presentations online.

My presentation at the Internet of Things special session at the PicNic conference in Amsterdam talks about user experience design for ubiquitous computing, focusing a bit more on information processing as a design material and the design implications of digital identifications technologies:

There’s great coverage of the session here: (French) (Google Translate French->English translation)

In August I spoke at my Adaptive Path’s User Experience Week conference about ubiquitous computing. The session documentation has no images because I did the whole thing using physical props.

In June I did a presentation to NASIG, the North American Serials Interest Group. It was an extended discussion of Information Shadows and how digital identification and ubicomp changes our relationship to everyday things. Peter Morville (one of the founders of information architecture and the author of “Ambient Findability”) has called it “required reading” (wow!):

Mike will be one of the International keynotes for the Danks IT Usability & Design conference on November 25, 2008. I will be talking about ubiquitous computing user experience design. Here’s more information: (Danish)

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Posted in October 2008