Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Each block must be plugged into a standard wall outlet for power. It also requires an Ethernet cable to get online (you can add Wi-Fi to the device via a USB port). When the box is connected to the Internet, you can create rules for it to follow through Ninja Blocks’ Ninja Cloud service. If you have several Ninja Blocks, you can set up rules that correspond to each one. Wotton isn’t sure how many rules a single block could adhere to, but he guesses “hundreds or thousands.”

Both the hardware and software for Ninja Blocks are open source, so people can build their own or modify the hardware or software as they please.

But even with its Kickstarter popularity, is there really an eager market for devices like Ninja Blocks?

Eric Wilhelm, founder of the DIY technology community site Instructables.com, thinks so, albeit a limited one. He believes Ninja Blocks will mainly be useful to people who already have an issue they’d like to solve, like getting a text alert when someone leaves a package on the doorstep.

However, Michael R. Nelson, an adjunct professor of Internet studies at Georgetown University, thinks that with its plug-and-play setup and simple sensors, it “really does help realize the hype we’ve heard of the Internet of things.”

Nelson preordered a Ninja Blocks pack that included the block and five sensors, a Wi-Fi dongle, and a webcam for roughly $265. He says he didn’t buy it because he had problems he wanted to solve. “It’s because I can start thinking of problems to solve,” he says.

5 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Ninja Blocks

Tagged: Computing

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me