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Ninja Block Linux computer reaches $80k crowd-funding

Clever idea intrigues web backers

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The Ninja Block open source cloud automation device looks as if it could be heading into the development stage after attracting $50,000 of pledges in only a week on the Kickstarter crowd-funding website.

Having set a funding goal of $24,000 to get the Ninja off the ground, as of 1 March its creators were approaching almost $80,000 in total pledges, with the cut-off set for 10 March.

The Ninja Block is a small box containing a number of ‘if this then that’ (IFTTT) input/output sensors running Linux firmware, controlled through a cloud layer that also interacts with popular apps.

Put simply, it allows local conditions such as temperature, movement or sound to be used to trigger responses such as sending notifications to Facebook, or Twitter, or to carry out local actions such as taking a picture. It can also notice remote events such as the arrival of an individual on Xbox Live, causing a light to turn on in the user’s house.

The basic device includes a temperature sensor and accelerometer but other sensors can be added for motion, light, humidity and even distance; webcam, microphone and WiFi modules are available.

The Ninja seems to be feeding on the same developer and user zeal for simple, low-cost open source computers that fuelled this week’s extraordinary interest in the Raspberry Pi and to a lesser extent, the Norwegian-developed Cotton Candy. However Unlike the Raspberry Pi the Ninja is designed as a commercial project built from open source components.

A demo of the Ninja turning on a heating system remotely using voice commands through Apple’s Siri can be found on the development website. Users create rules to perform desired actions via a cloud portal. Source repositories are online at github.

"We will sell Ninja Blocks and Ninja cloud. By keeping the hardware and the software running on the Ninja Blocks open source, we hope to attract developers. We will also be creating a public API," promised lead Ninja developer, Marcus Schappi.

Twitter: @JohnEDunn



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