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March 20, 2012

Twine Tells You What's Going On When You Don't Know


A couple years ago, I had a flood in my basement. And while it happened when I was home, I caught it quite by accident, having heard something in the basement and then discovering that the sump pump wasn't kicking in. I spent a long night sitting vigil over that sump pump, manually activating it with the charging lever until I could call my landlord at the time and get a new pump in. But I realized that the situation could have proven much worse, and that's why I wish I'd had a Twine back then.

Twine is a new gadget, a small plastic box that looks like nothing so much as a stylized bar of soap with lots of grooves cut into it. But what this box does is it connect with a suite of sensors, which can in turn tell you vital things about what's going on around it, and then relay said vital things back to you via your choice of communications methods including text message, email, or instant message.

Some of the vital things it can measure include temperature, vibrations, moisture levels, and more. Essentially, Twine can act like a relatively complete sensory suite that's completely independent of you and your own senses, and then when something you've established that Twine should warn you about happens, it can then in turn tell you about it.

And the best part is the sheer level of control. You can tell Twine to notify you about as much as you please. You can be one of those annoying helicopter parents over your entire house, having the Twine notify you every time there's so much as an unauthorized creak in the floorboards. Okay, maybe it can't go that far, or at least not yet. But as sensors improve, and can in turn be connected to the Twine, it will in turn be able to relay that information to you.

The Twine team is actually in their fourth version, and at last report, they're looking to get these out in stores fairly soon; Supermechanical, the team behind Twine, launched a Kickstarter campaign and followed in the footsteps of a whole lot of devices. Fully 4,000 backers showed up and dropped better than half a million dollars on the venture, where they had only wanted $35,000 dollars. Turns out people really wanted a Twine of their own. The devices are set to ship at the end of May, and will set you back $99 each.

$99 isn't a lot to ask for peace of mind, and my guess is plenty of people are going to find themselves interested in laying hands on a Twine to keep their households, gardens, garages...and yes, even leaky basements...well in order.






Edited by Jennifer Russell
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