Ok, so in addition to being a gadget freak, I’m a hardware junkie. It’s been a while since I’ve actually done much hardware hackery, but that’s not because of a lack of desire. 

I bought an RFDuino dev kit last year as a Kickstarter backer that I just opened last weekend, and I haven’t done much with it so far. Turns out having nothing but BTLE is a lot less useful than I thought.

I have almost 1,000 Sun SPOT devices squirreled away here in the house for ‘future use’ — unless you want to buy some of them, and if so, let’s talk! 

But this device — the Spark Photon — looks irresistible. And not just because of it’s cute size either. It’s packed with cool features, and the development environment looks to be really nice, too! As they say on their website, “When you write embedded code, you can choose between Wiring (the language of Arduino), C/C++ or even ARM assembly, depending on your level of experience and self-hate.” I don’t have enough self-hate to want to write in assembly.

Spark’s hardware development kit, the Photon, provides everything you need to build a connected product. We combine a powerful ARM Cortex M3 micro-controller with a Broadcom Wi-Fi chip to get you started quickly. The design is open source, so when you’re ready to integrate the Photon into your product, you can.

So there’s that. But there’s a lot more that looks attractive other than the open source aspects. I’m especially intrigued by the built-in REST APIs right now, for a variety of reasons. Being able to call both into and out of the device via REST opens up a whole bunch of interesting possibilities with them. They could be command and control modules for the Riverbed SteelHead, SteelFusion and SteelCentral appliances. They could easily be integrated into an Access Management System like the ForgeRock OpenAM one. 

In addition, it appears — at least from the documentation — that there’s security built-in with RSA, AES and SSL/TLS out of the box. Security, built in from day zero, is key to a reasonable IoT device as simply attempting to add security as a layer later on is a recipe for disaster — and insecurity/vulnerability.

I have boxes and boxes and boxes of sensors and other small gadgets I’d love to try hooking up to one of these devices. The only trouble is, I’ll have to wait until at least 10,000 units are pre-ordered before they actually manufacture them. So get ordering!!! I’m Pre-ordering now!