At the Lab we’re always on the lookout for new tools to help us quickly and easily prototype connected devices, for “Internet of Things” experiences. One little board that’s caught our eye is the Spark Core board. Here’s how the creators describe it:
“A tiny Wi-Fi development board that makes it easy to create internet-connected hardware. The Core is all you need to get started; power it over USB and in minutes you’ll be controlling LEDs, switches and motors and collecting data from sensors over the internet!”
We got our hands on one recently and were impressed by how easy it was to power up the board and control some LEDs via a web interface, as well as set up a sensor (we used a light-sensitive photocell) that can broadcast its status to the web. Using their cleanly designed Tinker app, we could turn functionality on or off with a tap on a touchscreen.
Perhaps most interesting is Spark Core’s strategy of allowing 3 different entry points for programming the hardware. A complete beginner who wants an easy introduction can use the visual Tinker app, whereas a more advanced user might prefer the browser-based Spark IDE to write custom code. And as an open source project an experienced hardware tinkerer can explore any aspect of the board and software.
We’re looking forward to doing some more tinkering of our own.
Check out Spark Core here: http://www.spark.io/