Map and SAM Team Up to Launch Internet of Things Toolkit

UK creative consultancy Map and technology company SAM introduced a new kit that will facilitate development of internet-connected products.

  • The packaging protects and presents the modules and also supports the first user experience of SAM. Each kit also has an accompanying set of printed components to allow users to create their first projects using simple cardboard engineering and the modules included in their new kit. Photo: Map Project OfficeThe packaging protects and presents the modules and also supports the first user experience of SAM. Each kit also has an accompanying set of printed components to allow users to create their first projects using simple cardboard engineering and the modules included in their new kit. Photo: Map Project Office
  • There are five SAM kits varying in size and complexity from Explore (with 3 physical blocks) to Family (with 24 physical blocks, including the SAM cloud), Map worked in collaboration with SAM to deliver a modular packaging strategy for these kits. Photo: Map Project OfficeThere are five SAM kits varying in size and complexity from Explore (with 3 physical blocks) to Family (with 24 physical blocks, including the SAM cloud), Map worked in collaboration with SAM to deliver a modular packaging strategy for these kits. Photo: Map Project Office
  • When real, physical blocks are connected they appear as shaded in icons in the interface and wireframe icons allow relationships to be established without the physical blocks being connected.  Photo: Map Project OfficeWhen real, physical blocks are connected they appear as shaded in icons in the interface and wireframe icons allow relationships to be established without the physical blocks being connected. Photo: Map Project Office
  • Throughout the UI there are simple, visual mental models and connections to bridge the gap between software, hardware and the Internet. Photo: Map Project OfficeThroughout the UI there are simple, visual mental models and connections to bridge the gap between software, hardware and the Internet. Photo: Map Project Office
  • SAMs intuitive flow-based interface allows you to ‘drag, drop’ and code advanced relationships between icons representing both the physical blocks and digital Apps. Photo: Map Project OfficeSAMs intuitive flow-based interface allows you to ‘drag, drop’ and code advanced relationships between icons representing both the physical blocks and digital Apps. Photo: Map Project Office
  • Map designed flexible elastomer ‘bands,’ which wrap around the physical blocks to make them both more robust and add a slight friendliness to the hackable nature of the raw technology. Photo: Map Project OfficeMap designed flexible elastomer ‘bands,’ which wrap around the physical blocks to make them both more robust and add a slight friendliness to the hackable nature of the raw technology. Photo: Map Project Office
  • SAM building blocks are wireless sensors (inputs, from buttons to thermometers) and actors (outputs, such as lights, buzzers and motors) that can sense and perform tasks. Photo: Map Project OfficeSAM building blocks are wireless sensors (inputs, from buttons to thermometers) and actors (outputs, such as lights, buzzers and motors) that can sense and perform tasks. Photo: Map Project Office
  • Their collaboration covered physical hardware, user interface of the software, the onboarding and setup experience as well as the packaging and some example projects and applications for the SAM kits. Photo: Map Project OfficeTheir collaboration covered physical hardware, user interface of the software, the onboarding and setup experience as well as the packaging and some example projects and applications for the SAM kits. Photo: Map Project Office
  • Map collaborated closely with SAM Labs to find ways of enhancing the entire user experience of the SAM kits through design. Photo: Map Project OfficeMap collaborated closely with SAM Labs to find ways of enhancing the entire user experience of the SAM kits through design. Photo: Map Project Office

London-based creative consultancy Map, founded by Barber and Jay Osgerby, together with technology firm SAM have developed a toolkit, which is expected to make it easier to create Internet-connected products. The kit includes Bluetooth-enabled modules that connect through an application or a cloud storage system.

“There was no really easy way to create a product, an app, or a piece of art using electronics and coding,” Joachim Horn, SAM CEO, told Dezeen.

“I thought this was crazy as it basically meant cutting off the majority of the designers who haven’t had the luxury to have a technical education,” he said.

In addition to the digital software, the companies have been working together on the development of the physical modules, which include actors and sensors. While the actors are responsible for outputs, including buzzers, motors and lights, the sensors ensure input, such as pressure sensors, buttons and thermometers.

The sensors send information through Bluetooth to the software that reads and interprets it. Instructions are then transferred to the actors, which then implement the tasks.

The modules can be located everywhere, because each block is equipped with a lithium polymer battery and a bluetooth low-energy antenna, what eliminates the need for wires. All the electronic components are hidden inside each block, which are covered with an elastomer band.

“There are no wires to get tangled in or complexities around fault finding, and it really does free up inputs and outputs to be physically separated from one another and create genuine IoT experiences,” designer at Map, Paul Wolfson, told Dezeen.

The new toolkit is aimed at educating students and designers about the computer science and electronics.

“[The Internet of Things] is becoming essential. The boundaries have blurred between the world of physical and digital products, and the potential to connect one thing to another is huge. This doesn’t just mean physical objects talking to one another but talking to broader services and experiences, which might only exist digitally,” Wolfson stated.

A growing number of companies are now working on the development of electronic products and make programing more accessible and relevant to people. Design and education company, Technology will save us, has recently presented a new programmable pocket-sized device that aims to help children in the UK to develop their creativity.

A few weeks ago, Cisco introduced a new IoT System framework that enables operators to monitor and customize IoT network infrastructures for industrial scale. Furthermore, the firm expanded its portfolio with IoT networking products, including an industrial switch, two IP cameras and a total of seven new routers, created for rough environments in manufacturing, transportation and other IoT fields.

Last months, an American multinational corporation Freescale Semiconductor Inc. developed the globe’s smallest single chip module for the IoT that will function as a computer on a chip.

In general, the IoT industry is demonstrating steady growth now. According to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, the IoT was among the three areas, in which the company recorded a significant increase. The company’ net income for Q2 2015 amounted to $2.7 billion.

By the way, the IoT growth is observed not only in software, science or household segments, but in entertainment as well. The hit game from the 1990s, Tamagoghi, began supporting interlinking between devices. Now you can simply exchange data by bumping the toys together.

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