Nov. 8, 2012 at 4:33 PM ET
For those worried about frozen pipes, flooded basements or a teenage son or daughter sneaking out at night, get your hands on Twine, a Wi-Fi-connected sensor-laden rubber block that alerts you when things go awry.
You can also set it up to ping you when good — or at least helpful — things happen, such as when the clothes dryer stops or the mail is delivered.
The gizmo is the brainchild of MIT Media Lab graduates David Carr and John Kestner who raised over half a million dollars on the crowd funding site Kickstarter to turn their idea into reality. They started shipping products this week via their company Supermechanical.
The 2.7-inch square block runs for months on a pair of AA batteries — and it will email you when the batteries are running low. It comes loaded with temperature, vibration and orientation sensors. There’s an expansion connector so you can add additional sensors to track moisture or the opening of a door or window.
To make this wizardry useful, people decide what they want to monitor and, with a Web app, set up rules that trigger Twine to send an alert via text, tweet or email.
For example, put the Twine on a pipe and set it up to send an alert when the temperature drops below 40 degrees F, long enough to take action before the pipes freeze. Use the vibration sensor to send alerts when the clothes dryer stops spinning.
The gadget costs $99. For $134, you’ll get the magnetic door-and-window sensor as well, which is helpful, for example, to pinpoint exactly when your teen snuck in the back door after curfew.