Do you remember our Amazon Dash Button Hacks article from early last year? If so, you’ll recall how a bunch of clever innovators were, at the time, programming Amazon’s Dash Buttons to help them order pizza, build a panic button, and – in Ted Benson’s case – track a newborn baby’s data.
Ted and his wife had tried a few baby-tracker apps, but found them frustratingly single-purpose whist their son's needs (he's called Everest) kept on changing. So Ted set to work transforming the newly launched Amazon Dash buttons into tools which could record his son’s ever changing data.
Benson’s hack went viral, amassing interest from all over the world and sparking a wave of likeminded Dash Button innovations, but that wasn’t the last we were to hear from Benson, oh no. As Everest started to grow, Benson set to work forming Cloudstitch - a Y Combinator-backed, web-platform startup which powers pieces of your web page using data from your Google Drive, allowing you to accept data from forms, publish data to an API and power content on your website easily.
Cloudstitch is betting big on becoming a user-friendly gateway to the Internet of Things by creating an extra vehicle through which computers and their connectivity can be evermore woven into the devices around us. And Benson’s bet on a potential billion-dollar market has a newly-launched secret weapon - Buttonjoy.
Buttonjoy sells programmable Wi-Fi buttons you can stick on your fridge and push to trigger text messages, send emails, record data, make robot calls and even donate to charities. The buttons come in two types which are both built on top of Amazon's IoT platform and hardware.
First; The Charity Button is sold at cost and donates money to a designated nonprofit when pushed, as well as tweeting or posting to Facebook to let others know you’ve done so. It’s designed for flexible use with Cloudstitch's development platform. "Making donations as easy as writing a tweet, or changing the channel, is a game changer," says Benson, "we often take to social media when we feel strongly about something, this offers a more productive outlet."
Second; The Magic Button can be configured to send data to spreadsheets, update websites, and send notifications over SMS, voice and email - essentially a whole host of extra functions on top of Benson’s original Baby Tracker button.
Perfect for less tech-savvy souls who have brilliant ideas for a ‘magic button’ but no idea how to navigate the technology which surrounds the Internet of Things, the buttons retail at just $35. How you use them is really up to you, although Benson has plenty of suggestions. How about ordering a restock of something before you run out by triggering automated emails? Make a personal doorbell if you’re on the move a lot? Or, if you have kids, you could create a silent doorbell which texts your phone so your sleeping children don’t wake up.
Speaking of the future, Benson told Creativepool: “Our goal is to enable productive creativity without any technical barriers to entry. That’s what Cloudstitch does for web development, and Buttonjoy is a first step toward that for the Internet of Things."
We wish him and Everest the best of luck!