I really love to spend time on Kickstarter to look at new cool projects that I may be interested in. Just a few days ago we have seen the incredible rise of the Android-based gaming console OUYA to Kickstarter fame as it was breaking the 1 million mark after eight hours of being active on the platform.
And today it is Blink(1) which the makers describe as a USB RGB LED. The idea is pretty simply: You connect the device to an USB port on your computer, server or virtually any device that is having USB ports to get visual notifications when something happen. And that something can be new emails, messages on your favorite social networking site, a voice call, a Skype contact coming online, or a notification when a download has finished. There are advanced use cases too, like displaying the weather temperature of a select location in various colors.
Blink(1) can be very effective in certain situations. You could add the device to a server rackspace to see activity, use it in situations where you can't get sound-notifications and are not able to watch the computer screen all the time, or as a server-down indicator.
The device is a USB HID device which means that it does not require custom drivers to work. The makers will provide apps for Windows, Linux and Mac systems, as well as embedded Linux systems such as DD-WRT. And for devices that are not supported, it becomes a night light which is definitely better than not working at all.
At launch, Blink(1) will support several popular websites, as well as the popular IFTTT and Boxcar services. The project is fully hackable on the hardware and software side of things. A single unit can be used by different apps, but it is not really clear if multiple apps can control the USB device at the same time.
Blink(1) has surpassed the goal of 25,000 US Dollars by more than 35,000 right now, with almost a full month to go before funding ends. The device is available for $30 for backers from the US, with international backers required to add $10 (Canada) or $15 (rest of the world) to the pledge amount for shipping. As usually, there are some higher priced pledges, like the $1000 Server Rack pack pledge which gives backers 40 blink(1) USB LEDs.
I can definitely see some use for Blink(1), and it appears that I'm not the only one judging from the pledge amount that the makers have already received in the last couple days. They should address whether it is possible to have multiple apps control a single Blink(1) unit. The price may be a bit on the high side of things, but then again, it is open source and fully hackable, so it may still be worth supporting it. What's your take on the device?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.