Joe Longstreet

An inventor / maker living in Kansas City, Missouri

Wild Thangs

sun glasses that talk back

Is it possible for non technical people to invent and create electronics based prototypes? Can it talk to the internet? Could it be a teddy bear, bag of dog food, or disco ball? Can it be done in two hours? These were some of the first questions asked of me when I started at the Moonshot Lab.

After building a few apps (the Eddie-O-Matic, Market Watch) with the spark core, I started thinking about creating a GUI visual programmer. This would allow just about anyone to connect a micro-controller to a recipe based service like IFTTT or Zapier. So I made it!

I held a few classes which were open to all Barkley employees. The first portion was a short introduction into electronics where students learned how resistors and LEDs worked. The next step was learning how to use the wild-thangs app. A quick overview of Zapier and then we hooked all the pieces together. Magic! Everything is now talking to the internet.

Tyler Cook

I was amazed at the creativity and diversity of the prototypes. Some of my favorites were:

  • A bottle of sunscreen which schedules google calendar events which then remind you to reapply.
  • A television remote with a siren activated from a mobile device.
  • Sunglasses that light up when someone mentions you in a tweet.

It’s a great feeling to empower others to express their ideas. I really enjoyed teaching these classes and hope to do more in the future. We were even featured in the KC Business Journal.

Heather Giarratana