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SAM: A DIY internet of things

Using Bluetooth modules and a drag-and-drop software builder, SAM is a kit that allows you to build almost anything you can dream up.

SAM Labs

Getting started in electronics is becoming more and more accessible, with various kits and learning resources becoming available to make it both attractive and fun. And, of course, there are the massive DIY communities that have sprung up, making it clear that there is definitely a place for the creative builders in the world.

Joining the array of kits and resources available with a Kickstarter campaign is a new kit called SAM -- one of the most accessible and flexible that we've seen to date. And, according to its creator, London-based startup SAM Labs, it allows you to build pretty much anything.

"SAM is for anyone who wants to create games, products, apps, and get a head start in the Internet of Things," the team wrote. "For the beginner to learn about technology, engineering, and coding. For the experienced inventor to accelerate their innovations."

Games include cars and other objects that can be controlled remotely via an app (think a less sophisticated version of Sphero); music that responds to pressure, proximity or light sensors; smart appliances or toys; lights that come on when you enter a room.

The kit itself consists of the eponymous SAMs -- Sensor Actor Modules -- which communicate with each other vie Bluetooth Low Energy. There are a number of modules available in various kits, including buttons and lights, sliders and servos, motors and cloud modules, and, of course, actual sensors: tilt, light and temperature.

"SAM's Bluetooth-connected modules can be used to build anything from fridges that create grocery lists, to skateboards that record and post tricks to the web, to bicycle signalling jackets; all easily programmed with the SAM app," SAM Labs CEO Joachim Horn said. "We want to level the playing field in innovation development, away from corporations with millions of dollars to spend on development and empower kids, young designers, and SMEs."

Each kit also comes with a Bluetooth 4 dongle and micro USB cable, and the app for designing the software -- which can be done simply and intuitively via drag-and-drop for kids and other learners, and via more complex coding for experienced programmers -- will be made available for free.

You can reserve a kit on Kickstarter starting at £55 ($90), which includes three modules and the app, while an early bird pledge of £200 ($325) will reserve a kit including 12 SAMs, and £350 ($570) reserves the 12-SAM kit plus every other module the team has designed.

Head on over to the SAM Kickstarter page to get more information and to pledge your support.