1btn: Open Source Wi-Fi connected IoT Button
1btn is the open source Wi-Fi connected IoT button.
As Featured In
“1btn is a powerful, open source, do-it-all button for the Internet… [it] can already do a lot, and once there’s a community hacking away at it the possibilities are virtually limitless.”
“1btn comes packed with tremendous potential to control anything connected to the Internet, literally!”
What is 1btn?
1btn (one button) uses the internet to complete a task with the simple, satisfying click of a single button. It connects to the internet over Wi-Fi to trigger whatever action you have assigned to it using a simple, online interface. One click, one task. It’s that simple.
Unlike many other “Internet of Things” devices, 1btn does not maintain a continuous connection to the internet. Instead, it sleeps until pressed, then it connects to the internet, performs the assigned task, tells you the outcome via its multi-colored LED, and then returns to rest.
*Hexagonal casing is also available in red, pink, blue, green, yellow, or white.
What kinds of tasks can you assign to 1btn?
- Send an email
- Send a text message (SMS)
- Tweet for you
- Invoke a URL action (custom script, API or IFTTT – maker channel)
We believe that the last one – invoking a URL action (a.k.a., a web-hook) – is particularly powerful since it lets you interact with and control any internet-enabled application. Imagine being able to click the 1btn on your way out the door to turn on the heat using the smart thermostat in your workshop.
To date, we have successfully built and validated 1btn prototypes, and we’re nearly ready to start production on a larger scale. And this is where your pledges, feedback and support are going to be extremely important for us. They will help us bring this awesome product to a wider audience.
Why did we create 1btn?
As the Internet of Things has expanded, we’ve noticed an unfortunate trend: the increasing use of smartphones to control IoT applications. We don’t think a smartphone provides the best or simplest UI for this purpose. Think of all the steps you need to take to send a single instruction with a smartphone: find the phone, wake it up or power it up, enter your passcode, swipe and swipe until you find and start up your smart app, select the appropriate control, activate it, and then put the phone back to sleep.
We think there’s a better way, a tried-and-true, more intuitive way, to activate a single task or function, and that’s with 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 exactly because they are designed for a single-task. More importantly, buttons are easy-to-understand, they are familiar, intuitive, and provide immediate physical feedback when pushed.
What’s different about 1btn?
There are other, similar web-enabled controllers out there. 1btn stands apart from them in a number of important ways:
How 1btn compares
|No need for a smartphone app to configure or keep the button operational||A smartphone app is a necessity|
|Rechargeable, long-life battery||Disposable batteries|
|Simplified design based on popular SoC technology||Complicated and unknown hardware|
|Multi-function / tasking device||1 or, at best 3 tasks|
|Multiple users can use same device||Only one person can use the device linked to their phone|
|Open source||Closed / partially open source|
- Unlike other, similar solutions, because 1btn uses Wi-Fi to connect directly to the internet, it doesn’t need to pair with an app or smartphone. While other solutions out there offer similar functionality, they don’t match the 1btn for sheer simplicity. Simplicity is what sets the 1btn apart, it was our primary design goal. 1btn is easy to set up, easy to configure, and very easy to use.
- The simplicity of the 1btn also means it is more reliable. There are fewer things to go wrong. Simple, easy to use, and reliable. If only more things in life were that way.
- Simplicity doesn’t mean 1btn isn’t powerful and flexible. Unlike other products that are permanently pre-programmed and bound to specific APIs and interfaces, 1btn is fully programmable and scalable. With 1btn you really own the hardware!
- 1btn is powered by a rechargeable Li-Po battery. This saves you from having to change batteries and adding to the waste stream. With typical usage, the battery should last for 300+ clicks before needing a recharge. Recharging takes about an hour and is done over USB.
- The 1btn configuration interface is available via a web-based console UI which can be accessed from any computer, including mobile devices.
- You can use the console to configure a single 1btn to perform multiple tasks based on time of day. For example, it can send a “we’re open” text in the morning and a “we’re closed” text in the evening. This feature is still under development, however we will finish it by the time campaign concludes.
- 1btn uses the popular Wi-Fi System-on-Chip (SOC), ESP8266. This powerful module is fully open source and very popular, so there is a wealth of information and documentation available for advanced hacking.
- Lastly, just for fun, 1btn comes in a nice 3D-printed hexagonal casing with cool color options to choose from.
|A. Top cover||E. Bottom casing with battery|
|B. Battery charger||F. Expansion ports|
|C. USB port||G. The button|
|D. Multicolor LED indicator||H. Wi-Fi module|
What can you do with 1btn?
The uses for 1btn are limited only by your imagination…
Pair it with home automation and smart appliances to:
- Turn on lights or heat before you get home
- Start your coffeemaker from your bedside
- Open or close your garage door
- Lock or unlock doors
Use it to communicate with internet applications to:
- Order pizza, groceries, or anything else
- Call a cab
- Input to a database
- Log start/stop times for billing or work
- Record workout laps or reps
Use it with communication applications to:
- Send an SMS to or from someone
- Function as a call button for a nurse, server, or help desk
- Send a reminder or confirmation, like when your kids get home from school
More advanced users can use 1btn to:
- Connect to IFTTT using maker channel and access hundreds of “recipes” for communicating with applications and other IoT devices.
- Integrate it with ERP/CRM applications to launch enterprise-specific workflows.
- Set up a webhook and have it perform anything available in an API. 1btn Web-hooks are HTTP calls that are sent from the 1btn server to yours upon actuation..
By default, 1btn comes preconfigured for some basic third-party services like email, Twilio SMS and Twitter. Adding more services is easy. The bottom line is, we can’t possibly imagine all the things you’ll be able to do with 1btn and your creativity!
Advanced Hacking with 1btn
Now that we preached about simplicity of 1btn – let’s talk about the 1btn’s advanced features. While 1btn is a simple interface, it packs a lot of punch because of its open source design and configurability. For example, the open design means you could completely rewrite the 1btn’s firmware. You can even modify the API’s endpoints 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 a script you’ve written to do the heavy lifting. 1btn gives you access to ReST API calls, so you can fully integrate it into larger systems and configure it programmatically. You can even write code to configure multiple buttons. Imagine being able to bring up an entire application infrastructure with the push of one button, and then launching the application with a second button.
Hacking isn’t limited to programming, either. You can also modify or retrofit the 1btn for use as a home automation or monitoring device. For example, the tactile switch of 1btn could be replaced with contact/no-contact sensors and these sensors could trigger an action when the circuit goes open.
How does 1btn work?
Out of the box, 1btn needs to be configured so it can connect to your Wi-Fi network. 1btn creates a Wi-Fi hotspot for this purpose. You connect to this hotspot and provide the credentials of your network.
To configure the 1btn to perform tasks, you’ll need to create an account for access to the web console which is used for configuration. You then register each 1btn with its unique ID (Its MAC address, technically). You can also assign a nickname to each 1btn for easy reference. You can get a sneak peek at the 1btn web console at www.knewron.co.in/saas/1btn. You will need to register in order to access the console.
Once connected and registered, you can select one of the pre-configured actions, such as send an email to specified address, send a text message to given number, or post on twitter using certain hash-tag or you can set up your own web-calls to your application.
Under normal use, the 1btn remains in deep-sleep mode until it is pressed. It then wakes, connects to the internet, does the job assigned to it, and tells you the outcome via its multicolored LED. It then returns to sleep mode. All this happens in about 5-7 seconds.
1. You press the button
2. 1btn connects to the internet using Wi-Fi router
3. Service request sent to 1btn API
4. Relevant application/function is invoked
5. Outcome of the task is sent to API
6. API responds with success/fail indication to 1btn
7. 1btn receives response
8. You see RED/GREEN blinking LED on the 1btn
|Size||About 60mm diameter|
|Casing||Hexagonal 3D printed using PLA material|
|Battery||Built-in, rechargeable: 3.7V 500mAH|
|Wi-Fi module||Built-in, ESP8266 – ESP-12F|
|Weight||Approx. 50 grams|
|Color||White case bottom with multiple color options for the top (red, pink, blue, yellow, white, and green)|
We will be making 1btn casings using 3D printing so we can offer you multiple color options. PCBA manufacturing will happen in India or China (or both) depending on the number of pledges we receive.
Initially, manufacturing will be completed at a rate of about 250/month, mostly because of the 3D printing process for the cases and the final assembly process.
Shipping is free to US and Indian backers. Indian backers will be refunded the additional shipping amount after the order is placed.
Risks & Milestones
This is slightly beyond a simple maker project. However, our team is experienced in handling hardware projects at large scale. We have the knowledge and resources to tightly manage risk. Our beta prototype is already validated and fully functional. This prototype is manufacturing ready so no further iterations are needed. That said, potential risks include: manufacturing variations during mass production, component shortages, shipping delays, customs delays, etc. However, we are committed to ensuring that the schedule remains on a tight leash and delays are minimized.
In any case, we will make sure backers are regularly updated with the current status of the project.
Why a $1 goal?
We are very passionate about this product, so no matter what the outcome of the campaign, we are going to make it! That also means, if you like the product, go ahead and pledge so you can get it in your hands as soon as possible and at a lower price.
About the creators
1btn is a creation of KNEWRON Technologies – a group of geeks with a lot of zeal for using technology to solve real world problems. KNEWRON is a global hardware and turn-key solutions design house for connected devices, intelligent systems, and applications for Internet of Things devices for industrial and commercial markets.
Is 1btn open source hardware?
Yes, absolutely. The firmware and hardware source files would be made available on github after the campaign. We are currently in process of tidying up the code, designs, etc. The designs would be made available under the MIT license.
How do I attach my 1btn to a surface?
1btn comes with a double sided adhesive tape so you can stick it to any surface. We are also exploring options to ship it with additional velcro for easy mounting and removal. 1btn can also be effectively used as a coffee table / study table device which you can move around all the time. Depending upon the use, you can mount 1btn or keep it handy.
How long does the battery last and how would I know when to charge it?
Our test results indicate that battery would last little over 300 presses. So if you use / press 1btn daily thrice, then the battery would last about 3 months or more. When the battery voltage reaches 3V (full charge would be about 4.28V), 1btn wouldn’t complete the action anymore. If you press it at this time, it will keep blinking red. However, fear not, as soon as the battery voltage starts going below 3.2V, you will start getting email alerts at every press / usage.
How many tasks can I assign to one 1btn?
Normally 1 per 1btn. And we are working on a time based trigger feature (still in beta) which will enable you assign multiple actions to same 1btn, and one or the other will be activated based on the time of day.
Can 1btn do more than one action at a time?
At the moment, no. At least not directly – this feature is one our to-do list though. However, the web-hook action effectively allows you to do this. For instance, a 1btn press can invoke your remote server script which, in turn would do 2 or 20 or 200 things all-together.
Why are there options for sealed and unsealed casings?
Most backers will want a sealed case – which won’t open without breaking. But if you wish to hack into the hardware of 1btn, you should choose the unsealed casing option. If you are more interested in using the button or software / application side of it, you may not need hardware access.
How durable is 1btn?
During the tests, (sealed) 1btn did survive a fall of 1.5 meters on hard marble floor. So yes, it is durable design. Even when we tested the unsealed version of 1btn, it separated into 3 pieces, bottom casing, top casing and PCB assembly with battery attached, but remained unharmed.
What is the range of 1btn?
The typical range is up to 50 meters, just like any other Wi-Fi based device. If you have a strong Wi-Fi router, the range can be greater.