The ReButton From Seeed Studio
The Amazon Dash Button was launched four years ago today, on April 1st. It never took off, but it’s sort of doubtful that was really ever the point of it.
The initial reaction by a lot of people was that the launch could well be a joke, but since then makers have taken the little Internet-connected button into their hearts and homes, and quickly started building their own.
In fact building an Internet-connected button has now become the first big project that most developers, intent on building a smart device, undertake. From soldering hardware together, to writing the firmware that runs on the hardware, to building a cloud service for your new Internet-connected device to talk to, putting together a button takes skills at all levels of the stack. Sometimes that even included crowdfunding. They were a physical manifestation of need, and recreating them has become a rite of passage for developers.
However, last month Amazon discontinued the Dash Button. So it’s sort of unsurprising that void left by the Dash Button might well be filled by others, which is where the ReButton from Seeed Studio might come in useful.
Built around Microsoft’s MXChip platform the ReButton is, “…a developer device for simple trigger actions, supporting multiple clicks, and long presses.” In fact five different types of interaction are supported out of the box; a single click, a double click, a triple click, a long press (> 3 sec), and finally a super long press (> 6 sec).
Underneath the top of the button is the MXChip module, and the main circuit board. The bottom has the battery compartment to house the 2×AAA batteries that should power the button for around 500 presses, a UART serial connection, a 6-pin debug connector to flash new firmware, and a I2C Grove connector.
The button ships with sample firmware to trigger ‘device-to-cloud’ messaging to Azure IoT Central or IoT Hub. However both the firmware and hardware are open source and you can develop your with the Arduino development environment.
Although right now the ReButton’s documentation only discusses connecting it to Microsoft’s Azure platform that’s somewhat understandable given that it’s based around the MXChip, I’ve been told that “…support [for] AWS and other clouds” should be coming soon.
The ReButton is available now from Seeed Studio and costs $24.90 plus shipping in single unit quantities, although if you need more than one, there are price breaks available at 10, 20, and also at 50 pieces, bringing the price down as low as $19.95 a unit.