I decided to meet SAM co-founder Joachim Horn after a colleague in the Connected Hardware space pointed out their KickStarter Campaign, which had surpassed its £50,000 goal in a matter of days. He stopped by our office and pulled out little gadgets similar to the ones I’d seen in the campaign video, and he said “Let me show you how we build a lightswitch.”
Drag-and-drop Internet of Things. Nothing could be more simple. Each SAM object is charged via mini-usb, and connect to your computer using BLE. The product’s tablet-friendly interface allows you to select detected objects, drag them into the environment, and connect them to other objects. The first lesson: connecting a Lightswitch to a light-bulb. Drag, drop. Done.
Joachim says that, while many players have built DIY kits for connected electronics – Arduino & Rasberry Pi, to name a few – none of them provide the instant gratification that makes toys great.
For me, SAM is the first Internet of Things toy I could see Fathers and Sons (or Daughters) enjoying together – in the 20th century we imitated technological achievements with model cars, imitating the innovations of the assembly line. In the 21st century, children will be imitating the innovations of the software age, and software is exactly where SAM flourishes.
While the building blocks still need some work – they are a bit too “maker” for me, not polished enough (or even child-safety approved, with their sharp edges) – there is a real opportunity here to create a world of easy to use connected building blocks.