The Internet of Things is about lots of things. Not just the Internet of your things, or five or seven of some company’s things that don’t really play well with any other company’s things. It’s about casually connecting ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million, a trillion things to build a richer more connected life.
Last week at DEMO Mobile, my company, MAYA Design, offered a sneak peek into a new app from our secret labs. It’s an authoring tool for the Internet of Everything called MakerSwarm. MakerSwarm allows anyone—kids, geeks, moms, dads, me, you—to connect smart devices in minutes without writing a single line of code.
One of the attendees at DEMO this week called it “Hypercard for the Internet of Everything.” If you’re old enough and geeky enough to remember Hypercard, you’ll know that that is rare praise indeed. We aspire to such goodness.
The future is going to be crowded with trillions of computers, unleashing technological complexity unlike anything we’ve seen before. Tools like MakerSwarm are about making the world more human literate, instead of asking us to become more and more computer literate. We’d like to put the power of the future into as many hands as possible so that our lives aren’t just dictated by a small cabal of computer geeks. (Hey, we don’t have anything against geeks; some of our best friends are geeks. It’s just that the small percentage of the world who can code isn’t very representative). We’d also like to challenge everyone to think bigger, much bigger.
It’s not about coding. It’s about building apps across atoms and bits that flow liquidly across the social life of products, environments, and people. MakerSwarm unlocks the power of a trillion-node world so that everyday people, weekend tinkerers, and burgeoning entrepreneurs can collaborate to build powerful and fun new products and experiences on devices themselves in a simple and powerful visual environment
MakerSwarm works by giving makers the power of X-ray vision, so that they can “see” into any of the smart devices around them, from cell phones to TV sets, from connected thermostats to wearable sensors. It’s a visual tool that lets you grab hold of any capability within a device and drag and drop it into a new app that spans across a swarm of your friend’s devices in a massive peer-to-peer community.
But MakerSwarm is more than just a cool app; it’s important because it lowers the bar for building still unimagined Internet of Everything experiences and unlocks the power of trillions of connections so that the best makers can earn rewards in the market of ideas. The potential of inexpensive, powerful computing to change the world is unlimited. And that’s what MakerSwarm is really about.
We’ll be offering first access to the authoring tools and some fun extras to people who join our Kickstarter campaign in May. Our focus for the campaign will be on building a kid-friendly version to help teens dream bigger and foster creativity, agility, design thinking, and scientific reasoning skills. We’ll be hardening the code and adding game mechanics, more device support, sample swarms, and a simple start-up process for beginners.
In partnership with Cisco, Techonomy convened a half-day event, Techonomy Lab: Man, Machines, and the Network, on May 16. in Menlo Park, CA.