Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 13, 2012.

Photo-main
Play
00:00
00:00

blink(1) is a small USB light to give you glanceable notice of anything on your computer or the internet.

BLINK(1), THE WORLD'S BEST INDICATOR LIGHT

blink(1) is a super status light: it packs three dimensions of information (color, brightness and pattern) into a single tiny package that fits into any USB port on nearly every device. It makes it incredibly easy to connect any data source in the cloud or on your computer to a full-color RGB LED so you can know what's happening without checking any windows, going to any websites or typing any commands.

We designed blink(1) in the spirit of our favorite old school Unix tools and we tried hard to make it simple, flexible, and robust.

Do you want to know if a friend has signed onto Skype, but don't want a window popping up every time anyone has logged on? Do you want to be notified when a long download has finished? Do you want to know the snow conditions at Tahoe without checking every hour? Do you want to make a "busy" light for your office that glows red when your calendar says you're in a meeting?

You can do all four at once: you can simultaneously control as many blink(1)s as you have USB ports. Have a 36-port USB hub? You can fill it with 36 blink(1)s, each of which is showing a different piece of information.

BLINK(1) AT HOME

Get things done without having your face buried in the computer. If you're expecting a call and don't want to make noise, blink(1) can help.

blink(1) in the home
blink(1) in the home

BLINK(1) ON THE GO

Monitor network speed when you're in the cafe, so you know when the guy in the corner is seeding on BitTorrent and it's time to go elsewhere.

blink(1) at a cafe
blink(1) at a cafe

BLINK(1) AT WORK 

Ever wanted a physical "Busy" indicator for your cubicle or office?  With blink(1) and a USB extension cable, you can let your coworkers know when you really can't be interrupted.

And because blink(1) is physically unobtrusive and requires no drivers to confound the OS, it makes a great multi-modal notification light for rack-mounted servers, alerting to task updates or system alerts. 

blink1 in a server farm
blink1 in a server farm

CROSS PLATFORM EVERYWHERE

blink(1) is a USB HID device, so no special drivers are needed, just applications. We provide apps for Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and embedded Linuxes like those used on BeagleBone and DD-WRT.

On Windows, blink(1) can appear as a system service.  On Mac OS X, it can be an Applescript target.  On Linux it's a command-line tool.

blink(1) works on most everything with a USB port
blink(1) works on most everything with a USB port

WHAT'S WITH THE NAME?

The name "blink(1)" is a play on the Unix help system ("man pages") where command's help pages are given by their name and section.

OPEN SOURCE

Not only are the blink(1) tools and apps open source, so is its entire design.  Feel free to hack it to make it do cool new things.

blink(1) internals
blink(1) internals

WHERE WE'RE AT

blink(1) builds on our experience making thousands of BlinkMs, the popular Smart LEDs for Arduino.We wanted something that is as fun and as useful as BlinkM, but made for everyone, not just prototypers and designers.

blink(1) enclosure concept 5
blink(1) enclosure concept 5

FAQ

Q. Wait, so this is just an RGB LED with a USB connector in a case? A. Yes, and it's the most flexible and easiest to use one, anywhere. To make it all work, there's also a tiny USB controller with our firmware to make it easy to program and control, but basically yes.

Q. Which computers does blink(1) work with? A. Just about anything with a USB jack.  Specifically, blink(1) is a USB HID-compliant device and the apps we release for it work on Mac OS X 10.6+, Windows XP+, Ubuntu/Debian-style Linux.  The command-line tools can be compiled for just about any POSIX-compliant Unix-style platform including the Raspberry Pi, DD-WRT WiFi routers, BeagleBone, and some Android phones.

Q. Can I hook it to my Twitter? A. Yep!  Our BlinkATweet app lets you control blink(1) based on Twitter keyword search or Twitter user post.

Q. What other web apps does blink(1) work with? A. At launch we plan on having blink(1) work with Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and through IFTTT.comBoxcar.io many other web services.

Q. Can I control it from my phone? A. Yes! If your phone can load a web page it can control blink(1). The blink(1) service on your computer can appear as a password-protected web app for your phone or any other network enabled device. 

Q. Is blink(1) hackable? A. Definitely. We're working to make the enclosure openable so you can get at the circuit board. And if you know Arduino or AVR programming, you can modify how blink(1) functions. blink(1) can be programmed with the Arduino IDE. We will include example hacks of how to turn the blink(1) into a USB keyboard and mouse emulator.

FAQ

  • Yes. Say you want to assign a "steady red" to mean "computer CPU at 100%" and "blinking yellow" to mean "disk space low", then if both happen, you'll see a steady red with pulses of yellow. It's up to you to choose colors and patterns that don't collide. We give you tools to make those choices easy.

    Last updated:
  • Yes. Each blink(1) is independently addressable. Have one display a facebook status, another display network load.

    Last updated:
2,655
Backers
$132,317
pledged of $29,000 goal
0
seconds to go
  • Pledge $1 or more
    You selected

    110 backers

    Pledge $1 and keep up-to-date on all things blink(1) with exclusive updates, blink(1) availability or more.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $25 or more
    You selected

    200 backers All gone!

    EARLY BIRDS Help us get started! One blink(1) USB LED. This device will retail for more than $30. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $30 or more
    You selected

    1263 backers

    One blink(1) USB LED. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    54 backers Limited (46 left of 100)

    One blink(1) USB LED with CUSTOM laser etched inscription or logo on top face. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $55 or more
    You selected

    803 backers

    TWO blink(1) USB LEDs. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $90 or more
    You selected

    32 backers Limited (18 left of 50)

    TWO blink(1) USB LEDs with CUSTOM laser etched inscription on top face. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $140 or more
    You selected

    142 backers

    FIVE blink(1) USB LEDs. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $270 or more
    You selected

    22 backers

    TEN blink(1) USB LEDs. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $540 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    TWENTY blink(1) USB LEDs. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
    You selected

    3 backers

    Server Rack Pack: 40 blink(1) USB LEDs. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $3,750 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    Custom Big Pack: 100 blink(1) USB LEDs with CUSTOM laser etched inscription on top face. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $10,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    FULL Custom Big Pack: 100 blink(1) USB LEDs in custom-designed enclosure to your specifications. Free shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $10,000 or more
    You selected

    0 backers

    SUPER Big Pack: 450 blink(1) USB LEDs in standard enclosure. Free shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (35 days)