1btn...an open source wifi connected button
What is 1btn?
1btn is an internet connected device, designed to do tasks with the single click of a button. The system operates on WiFi which connects to the internet when needed, and in the event of button click triggers the task 1btn is assigned to do – It’s that simple.
1btn is one of those unusual things of the internet which is not always connected; rather it only comes to life when you trigger it. When pressed, 1btn wakes from slumber, connects to the internet, does the job assigned to it and tells you with its multi-color LED about the outcome and then goes back to rest.
Some of the things 1btn can do are…
We believe that the last one - URL invoking (aka web-hook) - is the most powerful thing 1btn can do as it gives you an ultimate control over your application. 1btn comes packed with tremendous potential to control anything connected to the Internet, literally!
Why we created 1btn?
The question really is - can a smartphone do everything? Doesn’t it lack convenience to get things done in the least number of steps and quickly? What we believe is that the best user interface which allows us to better interact with digital information in the real world is (and always would be): A button!
Why are buttons such a great idea? A button is the simplest user interface for a single-repetitive-programmable task. They are simple, as they are designed for a single-task (typically). More importantly, buttons are easy-to-understand, as they provide immediate physical feedback and trigger an immediate action.
We designed 1btn with one of the important user goals in mind…easy to set up and easier to configure and super easy to use. Even a basic internet user can configure it to make it work without much help.
Exactly what the name suggests it is an internet connected push button which can trigger actions. Use it to send a text message, email or tweet, control your smart appliances et al. And since it has built-in wifi for direct internet connectivity it does not need smartphones and apps to pair with.
Is it first of its kind in the world? Well, of course not, there have been many and we’re sure there would be much more in years to come. Yet here is one more, different, easier, simpler and smarter.
Simpler often signifies reliable and so there is less number of things to go wrong. Easier to configure and super easy to use; isn’t this all of us want; making our life easier?
Where can it be used?
Well, use your imagination…
It could be used as a remote control for something on the internet, a switch for your wifi controlled lights, pizza & burger ordering button, beck-n-call switch, call Uber-cabs, open your garage door, track something, remotely control your home appliances, or perform some database operations, use as a start-stop timer for work-log / time-sheet purpose, perform web pull requests on manual trigger, power off any device remotely (including your smartphone), and list would go on...
Might be overkill, but use it as a doorbell perhaps.
My grandparents are not at all tech-savvy and don’t know how to call me or message me; so I gave them 1btn. Now all they have to do is – press a button and I get a text so I call them back or sometimes, I just pick up their call enabled by 1btn.
You could send a distress signal on button click, connect with smart lock and let someone in when you’re not home. Your children could press 1btn when they reach home from school and you get a text message notifying about it – be relieved. Ask your grandparents to press the button when they take their pills; if they don’t – you would know that they missed it again.
1btn can be a stand-alone solution to all your smart home needs. It has built-in wifi for direct internet connectivity so you don't need smartphones or apps. Everyone in the family can use the same 1btn.
Turn the lights off, disarm the alarm, and start the coffee maker – all these with just a single click of 1btn in the morning.
Shutdown your house (just like a computer) when you’re going out; when leaving press your 1btn that has been placed right next to your main door, signaling home automation outlets, lights, appliances, etc., to turn off – save energy.
Use it in your restaurant, office place to be used as summon button and call waiter/orderly at your desk.
Use it as a lap button during your gym workout instead of using smartphone touch-screen with sweaty and sticky fingers. This can be further augmented to record lap timings which you could analyze later.
Connect 1btn to IFTTT using maker channel and let it command the internet for you. You can create many interesting recipes on IFTTT and get them triggered using 1btn. One of the simple things you could do is turn on / off smart-lights using this button which otherwise is not possible without smartphones!
Ask it to do something a bit complex - integrate it with your company’s ERP / CRM application and perform some tasks on shop floor or malls. It can be attached to expensive machine or equipment and anyone can press the button when service or maintenance request needs to be raised – no chasing off those guys required. Send a meeting reminder to all attendees at the press of 1btn from boss’s office.
1btn by default comes pre-configured for some basic third-party services like email, Twilio SMS, and Twitter posting.
Plus it comes with the most powerful capability, webhook, with which you can add as many APIs on your own as you want. With this functionality, you can practically perform anything as per your code and just invoke it with this button. There would be certainly a few things we haven’t thought about yet and we just can't wait to see how you will use 1btn!
Bottom line – go creative!
What are the advantages of 1btn over some other existing ones?
To start with - it is scalable and programmable: unlike many other buttons which are pre-programmed and bound with certain APIs and interfaces all their lifetime, 1btn comes in fully programmable condition. You really own the hardware!
It comes with a rechargeable Li-Po battery which is a major plus – no need to change batteries every now and then; or not to throw it away once the battery is over. Typical usage should make the battery last for about 300+ clicks before needing another recharge. Recharging takes just about an hour+.
It has built-in wifi connectivity; so you obviously don’t need to have a smartphone nearby. 1btn configuration interface can be done using web-based UI which can be accessed from any computer including a smartphone.
You can configure the same 1btn multiple times in the console by giving it different time-slots of the day – such that press of 1btn in the morning half would send a text message to someone while if pressed in the second half of the day, it will tweet for you and in the night something else.
And more importantly, 1btn is based on one of the most popular WiFi SoC – ESP8266: so yes, its design is going to be the fully open source and completely hackable. Say bye-bye to over killing and closed solutions!
1btn comes with a nice 3D printed hexagonal casing with multiple funky color options to choose from.
And again, minimalist design and interface mean less number of things to go wrong. You don’t have to fiddle with nuances of complexity.
For the hacker in you
Now that we preached about the simplicity of 1btn – let’s talk about some high-end stuff.
While 1btn is a simplified interface, it packs a lot of punch, especially with its open source design and a multitude of design/configuration options.
For example – you can completely rewrite 1btn firmware and make it do something else of your liking. Even better, modify API endpoints in its native firmware and re-route them somewhere else.
On the other hand, if you wish to use existing hardware with your own servers – you could redirect button press action to your servers and then invoke some cool script written by you to do the heavy lifting.
You can also modify or retrofit the 1btn to be used as home automation or monitoring device for certain applications; for example, tact-switch of 1btn could be replaced with contact / non-contact sensors and these sensors could trigger the action then.
1btn Webhooks are HTTP requests that are sent from the 1btn server to yours when a 1btn is pressed. This webhook URL can be manually set for each button from user console. If you are building some application for yourself, a small number of users or just experimenting with the 1btn API, you can easily start here.
We are also giving access to some of the ReST API calls which you can integrate into your larger application and make the bigger system work, configure 1btn programmatically, and write a code to have two or more 1btns work together and much more.
How does it work
At the very first time of the unveiling of 1btn from the box – you will have to configure it so that it can connect to your home or office wifi. 1btn creates a wifi hotspot for achieving this to which you can connect and provide credentials of your WiFi router.
Register online, create your user account and add a new button to your list. You may have as many buttons as you want. Each button is differentiated by its unique ID i.e. MAC ID of the wifi. You can give it a nickname for easy reference. You can select one of the pre-configured trigger actions such as send an email to specified email id, send a text message to given number or post on twitter using certain hash-tag or pass on the control to another URL.
Under normal conditions, 1btn remains in deep-sleep mode and upon the press of the button, comes out of slumber, connects to the internet, does the job assigned to it and tells you with its multicolor LED about the outcome; and then finally goes back to rest. All this happens in less than 5-7 second window.
Go have a quick look at 1btn web interface at www.1btn.space. You will need to register yourself for access to the console.