Products need the Internet.  The Internet doesn’t just provide browsing capabilities, it also unlocks features like texting, email, social media like Twitter and Facebook, clocks, translation, maps, and so on.  But adding Internet functionality in small consumer devices is challenging task.  Electric Imp aims to change that.


A Electric Imp

Electric Imp is basically a SD card, but with much greater functionality.  Their Imp includes an embedded WiFi module and an antenna, and is highly customizable. With WiFi, devices have freedom of movement: Fewer cords and less hassle means more uses.

The Founders Of Electric Imp

The Founders Of Electric Imp

What makes the Imp OS so useful?  The coding. It doesn’t look that way, does it? It’s too small to have a plug, and it has no screen.  But it’s even simpler than that: you can code straight from a browser (you code in Squirrel, a Java/Python/C/C++ type language), and send the results to your smartphone. From there, Electric Imp does the work. It has special built-in light sensors, that can record flashes of light. So all you have to do is hold Electric Imp up to the phone, and in a few seconds, it will have transferred. It does that by flashing the screen black and white in a Morse code like fashion, and the Imp interprets it and turns it into code.  Ingenious.

The Imp's Packaging

The Imp’s Packaging

Electric Imp can be used for crazy and awesome things. For instance, at this week’s Cool Product Expo held at Stanford University, Electric Imp displayed some examples of the Imp’s functionality.  One was a Piggy Bank. But not an ordinary Piggy Bank. Whenever you put change into it, it tweets how much you have (like “I’ve saved up $1.75!”). Another example is Lockitron. A crowd-funded project, Lockitron makes it possible to lock your house from anywhere in the world. It also alerts you when anyone else locks the door, for complete security.  Electric Imp makes these projects web-enabled.

With all the amazing stuff that Electric Imp can do, you’d expect it to be a bit pricey.  But it isn’t.  The Imp, along with the essential Breakout board, comes to $42.45.  That means anyone can add an amazing thing called the Internet to everything they design, making the world easier, faster and safer.