Smart projects let you use your imagination to create new and innovative toys, tools, and applications. I’ve mentioned a few smart home applications, devices, and protocols with which the sky’s the limit as far as what you can come up with. You’re only limited by the limits of your imagination. MESH calls itself the “Creative DIY Kit for the Connected Life.” Looking at it, I’d pretty much have to agree.
Move Over SmartThings — MESH Has Arrived
Last year I said that, in my opinion, SmartThings was the next best thing in home automation since sliced bread. There’s competition now. It hasn’t gotten to where I’d be able to honestly recommend it to anyone and everyone, but MESH is making waves all over the place, not just in the home automation sphere. Almost anything and everything to do with consumer technology is being affected.
What Does MESH Have to Do with Smart Projects?
Like SmartThings, MESH is a platform for developing cause and effect relationships with devices. You tell the application which device you’re working with. Next, you tell the application what type of event (cause) you want having an effect. You then tell the application what you want to happen when the required event occurs — the effect. MESH is an acronym for Make, Experience, Share.
This is all done in a drag and drop visual development environment that anyone can use. If you’re ever used anything like Visual Basic or Visual C/C++, you’ll be instantly familiar with the look and feel of the Canvas development environment. However, Canvas is really quite a bit easier than either of them.
Everything Revolves Around MESH Tags
The basic MESH DIY smart projects kit comes with the Canvas development environment and four different MESH Tags. One of these tags is an accelerometer and detects motion. There’s a GPIO Tag (General purpose, input/output) that lets you control things. There’s also a Button Tag and an LED Tag.
Smart Projects Examples
MESH lets you integrate with an existing home automation solution or start building your own. For example, you could use the Acceleration Tag to make note of when a door is open or closed. For example, you can attach it to the front door and program it to send an email to your phone when the door is opened or stays open for a preset time. You could also program it to turn on the light in the hall closet.
If you have lots of indoor plants, you can use the GPIO Tag to turn a small water pump on and off on a daily basis. In the Canvas development application you would select the GPIO Tag and set a specific time every day for the plants to be watered. You would then select when the device is to turn off. Finally, you would program the GPIO Tag to energize the circuit controlling the pump.
You could also build a weighted rain detector. When rain is captured in the detector, the weight of the water causes the detector to drop, signaling the Acceleration Tag. Couple this with a connection to a Weather app API and the LED Tag in Canvas. Draw the lines between tags to have the API tell the LED Tag to turn on red when it’s been dry and water is needed or blue/green when no water is needed.
Your Possibilities Are Almost Endless
Just looking through the Indiegogo page for MESH, I can think of several dozen uses for a MESH kit, with extra Tags. I’d definitely need extra tags because of everything I’d want to do.
MESH development is simple and straightforward, too. Everything that a Tag can be associated with is right there. You just need to select the desired Tag, select the desired input action, and the desired output result. It really is that easy. As new tags are developed, the app will be updated with new functionalities.
The Indiegogo project has reached its funding goal. That means they can now put more effort into developing new tags. Some of the capabilities that they’re looking to develop in the coming months include a UV sensor, thermometer and hygrometer combination, CO2 detector, and more.
What do you think? I’m really excited about this MESH smart projects DIY kit. Let me know what you think in the comments. Unfortunately, if you don’t own an iPad, you’re out of luck. They currently only have an iPad app for their Canvas development environment.