Twilio often closes its events with a developer-focused sign-off: “We can’t wait to see what you build.”
This phrase is on my mind as we set up our remote interview with Twilio’s CEO, Jeff Lawson. Brent Schooley, a pandemic-tempered livestreaming expert, sets up to record high-quality video remotely. He developed this system while building for Twilio’s remote SIGNAL conference last year. While he does my mic check, I click through browser windows and close sixteen tabs for completed or abandoned projects, hardware hacks, and other idle Googling.
I’ve heard stories about building from Developer Relations teams before, but none have felt as genuine as those I’ve heard at Twilio. At this company, builders are in major supply. From engineering to marketing, we are moving and creating and iterating, setting up potential solutions, and reworking them together.
Jeff Lawson joins at 5:31 p.m. sharp.
“I gotta show you what I built …
It’s 2021, and Eurovision is back.
I asked several team members to explain Eurovision to me, an ignorant American who only heard of the singing contest because of that Will Ferrell movie. It is a massive international singing contest that has been around since 1956, where countries across Europe are represented by singing acts and vote on the best performances. I’m pretty sure the movie was pitched to American film execs with the sentence, “It will be like Pitch Perfect meets The Olympics.” Image credit: Frédéric de Villamil
Delight your Trick-or-Treaters with a remote-operated candy machine that talks or texts back
For neighborhoods welcoming Trick-or-Treaters, Halloween is hitting a little different this year. Not only do we need to create a spooktacular candy distribution experience, but we need to do so while still standing 6+ feet away.
If you're looking for a higher tech solution than throwing candy at your neighbors, you could try Candybot: a voice-interactive, remote-operated, candy-dispensing robot. Candybot auto-vomits candy on command or in response to the words "Trick or Treat."
Candybot can work via sound or text. It can relay the sound of the Trick-or-Treaters to an operator inside the house, …
Make the next big Internet of Things... thing.
SIGNAL 2020 was a big one for Twilio IoT. In the keynote, CEO Jeff Lawson talked about Microvisor: Twilio IoT’s new device builder platform for embedded developers. Microvisor is currently in a closed private beta, so we can’t play with it yet. However, we also got to see Twilio IoT’s more widely available offerings via demos, talks, and games.
SIGNAL TV’s live IoT robot battles, powered by Electric Imp. See the full segment here.
If you’re itching to hear more about the Microvisor, stay tuned or check out the Twilio IoT live video session coming out on November 5th. And for those of you who want to start building right now, here’s some currently available Twilio IoT tools that you can use today.
1. Electric Imp
Sometimes, we want to build for the Internet of Things, but we don’t want …
Today, Twilio released Super SIM to public beta. Super SIM works all over the world and gives developers the ability to choose the networks that their devices connect to and monitor the data consumed by each SIM. You can order your own Super SIM through the Twilio Console and try it out.
Super SIM is versatile and works with CAT-M1, LTE, and 2G/3G networks. I tested Super SIM with a few boards I had lying around the house, including the Adafruit Feather FONA 32u4.
The Adafruit Feather FONA 32u4 is a cellular board from Adafruit based on the Feather ecosystem that uses the Simcom SIM800H modem. (You may remember it from this tutorial on building a mailbox notifier.) It can be programmed with the Arduino IDE. Here’s how you use it with Super SIM and test that it is online with a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) command sent …
Today, Twilio released Super SIM into public beta. Super SIM works all over the world and gives developers the ability to choose the networks that their Super SIMs use and monitor the data coming in from each SIM. You can order your own Super SIM through the Twilio Console and try it out.
Super SIM is versatile and works with CAT-M1, LTE, and 2G/3G networks. I tested Super SIM with a few boards I had lying around the house, including the Arduino MKR GSM 1400.
The MKR GSM 1400 is an SAMD-based board from Arduino that uses the uBlox SARA-U201. It can be programmed using the Arduino IDE. Here’s how you use it with Super SIM and test that it is online with a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) command sent from the Super SIM API.
This guide requires a configured Super SIM. If you haven’t set …
The other week, I talked to Stacey Higginbotham about how to get started in IoT. According to Stacey, a lot of people ask her about building mailbox sensors that tell you when the mail has come. This kind of hack is especially useful for those with mailboxes far from their front doors.
If your mailbox is far away, there’s a good chance your Wi-Fi won’t reach, and neither will your power. We can build a battery-powered cellular device that you can put in your mailbox that senses when your mail is here and texts you when someone has opened it.
Enter: the MailPig
MailPig waits for someone to open your mailbox and then sends you a text about it. You can configure the number (or numbers) to text and the message you want MailPig to send in the using Twilio Functions.
MailPig sleeps until it senses light, then it …
Twilio’s Machine-to-Machine (M2M) commands help you quickly send data directly from your IoT device to the internet and vice versa. These messages are good options for occasional commands; you could wake a device by sending a command from a server, or you could send a message to your server when your device wakes up.
If your device can send an SMS, it can also send a Twilio M2M command. Development boards like the Adafruit Feather FONA 32u4 are well set up to send an SMS using a Programmable Wireless SIM. You simply have your device send an SMS to the short code
2936, and the command will appear in your Twilio Console.
You can take these commands and use them with Twilio’s other fantastic APIs to send texts, WhatsApp messages, and emails, make phone calls, start video chats, or trigger additional M2M commands.
The possibilities are endless, but …
Internet connected sourdough fitness tracker
A sourdough starter is a little yeast-driven pet that eats flour and water and makes sourdough. More and more people are keeping these delightful critters in their houses, feeding them when they start to look sluggish and baking bread with them every few days.
With Twilio's Narrowband IoT Developer Kit, we can build a little monitor that helps us keep track of our starter's temperature, humidity, and rise.
Twilio's Narrowband IoT dev kit happens to have some great sensors we can use to get started, and it's also designed for constant, low-power connectivity, which is what I want …
Your new hobby, now with more data
Making bread is suddenly popular, and so are my stupid-until-recently bread hacks.
For years, I have designed ridiculous ways to monitor my sourdough starters. Now, for the first time ever, people are interested in my solutions.
Enter the IoT Sourdough Starter Monitor, which monitors your bread’s temperature, humidity, and rise, so you know how it’s growing and when it needs to be fed. Let’s call it... sourd.io
A babysitter for my sourdough starter, Brad the Bread.
Sourd.io screws onto the top of a ball jar for versatility and millennial comfort vibes. You can also balance it on two skewers to judge the rise of bread in a bowl, outside your jar.