Analyzing CheerLights with MATLAB

CheerLights is an Internet of Things project created by Hans Scharler that allows people’s lights all across the world to synchronize to one color set by Twitter. This is a way to connect physical things with social networking experiences and spread cheer at the same time. When one light turns red, they all turn red.

CheerLights uses ThingSpeak to collect the latest color. We get the color value by following “CheerLights” on Twitter using the TweetControl app. When someone Tweets using “CheerLights” and a color name, the TweetControl app writes the color to the CheerLights Channel on ThingSpeak. Other developers wanting to join the CheerLights project read in the latest color value using the ThingSpeak Channel API and then set their light color to the same one.

With some MATLAB Analysis and Visualizations, I know that currently red is the most popular color on CheerLights! I have recently taken advantage of the MATLAB integration with ThingSpeak. Under Apps -> MATLAB Analysis, we have an example that will show you how to analyze the public CheerLights Channel on ThingSpeak to determine the most requested color. The MATLAB Analysis example is called, “Analyze text for the most common color”.

Example MATLAB Visualization Code

lights = thingSpeakRead(1417,'OutputFormat','table','NumDays',30);


People all over the world have joined CheerLights by making all kinds of light displays, apps, and browser plugins. I recently created a CheerLights display for my parents using a LIFX Wi-Fi Light Bulb. If you want to control all of the lights, just send a Tweet using Twitter that mentions @CheerLights and a color.

“@CheerLights Let’s go Blue!”

Check out for more detail and for ideas on how to join the project. We are all connected!


Instant TweetControls #featurefriday

We spent some time enhancing our TweetControl App. TweetControl allows you to control things with Twitter. You setup a TweetControl to listen for a keyword mentioned on Twitter and we execute any web service API call that you specify. Developers have created racing cars, political campaign trackers, and we use it for the CheerLights project.

As more and more users create TweetControls, the service started slowing down. We have enhanced how the service works and now you get instant TweetControls!

In an Instragram video sending a Tweet and changing the CheerLights color, you will see that there is little delay between sending the Tweet and executing the control command to change the colors on his Christmas tree.

Learn more about TweetControl on ThingSpeak Docs.

Slot Car Race Powered by Twitter

The community from RS Components created a Scalextric Slot Car Race that is powered by your tweets. Two cars went head-to-head last week with a live Twitter race between a red and blue car. The cars move based on the number of Tweets that included their hashtag. If you want the blue car to win, you needed to Tweet, “Go #RSBlueTeam”. The team wrote a web service like TweetControl that pulls in tweets from the Twitter Stream and distributes commands to an Arduino that controls the track. This is another great project that further demonstrates how social intersects with technology and marketing. Go Tweet Racer!

RS Components Twitter Race

[via Facebook]

A Twitter Powered Gumball Machine Built on ThingSpeak + Arduino

Kevin, from the brilliant minds at Philter Communications, created a gumball machine known as the Tweet-a-Tweat. This clever device encourages social media interaction. People who visit your office need to send a Tweet to @tweetatweat to get a tasty gumball. The idea is to stimulate your brand by offering a real-world interaction. The combination of social media+internet of things forms a powerful link and the “web of things” vision emerges. We love working with our partners to enable strong(er) relationships with customers, coworkers, and visitors; and ultimately seeing new ideas take shape.

The technology behind Tweet-a-Tweat is Arduino + ThingSpeak — this is another powerful combination. The Gumball Machine is from Beaver Vending and has an Arduino inside listening to the TweetControl App from ThingSpeak. TweetControl listens to the Twitter stream for keywords that trigger HTTP requests in real-time. The heavy lifting happens in the cloud so that the embedded Arduino only has to focus on moving servos and being ready for web requests.

For more information, visit Tweet-a-Tweat and check out the live video feed of Philter’s Twitter powered gumball machine being operated live.

[via Tweet-a-Tweat]

TweetControl App Documentation Updated

We have update the documentation for the TweetControl app:

TweetControl allows you to monitor Twitter for trigger words to send ThingHTTP requests. The CheerLights project by ioBridge Labs uses TweetControl to update its ThingSpeak Channel so other lights around the world stay in sync with each other.

TweetControl App by ThingSpeak

Why use TweetControl? Our app connects to the Twitter Streaming API. What this means to you is that you don’t have to keep polling Twitter for status updates. You can sit back and let TweetControl listen and then process the request when a trigger word gets fired. This happens in real-time and it’s quite remarkable to see in action.

TweetControl is a part of our collection of apps for social things.

CheerLights: Connecting Lights Together to Bring Us Closer

It’s that time of year… holiday time and family time. I was inspired this time to create a project that brings us a little closer. Lights are a big part of the holidays and with CheerLights you can connect your lights to other lights via Twitter with a little help by ThingSpeak Apps.

Since the project release, there has been much activity. A part from CheerLights being discussed on blogs like MAKE and Lifehacker, the community has created some interesting bits of tech that extend the project further than lights. So if you don’t have a way to connect your lights together with CheerLights, you can connect your mobile phone, browser, and web sites together by subscribing to the CheerLights feed. Right now you can check the latest CheerLights color with an Android App created by @ChrisLeitner. Another really neat thing is a browser plugin for Chrome designed by Josh Crumley. So, in the top corner of your web browser you can see the latest color in an unassuming way. It’s a little reminder that we are connected.

To join CheerLights, all you have to do is build something that subscribed to the CheerLights ThingSpeak Channel or access the data using JSON and XML. You can also use the apps, browser plugins, or web widgets to see the colors. Visit the CheerLights website hosted on Tumblr for details on making a controller with Arduino, ioBridge, or Digi’s ConnectPort.

To control CheerLights, just send a Tweet to @CheerLights and mention a color.

Just think when you send this Tweet that you are updating 1000’s of lights, apps, browsers, and widgets all at the same time.

Spread some cheer…

[via MAKE / Lifehacker / CBC / ioBridge Projects]

TweetControl: Control Anything with Twitter

We are ready to release a new app for the ThingSpeak Platform! The new app is called TweetControl – this app listens to Twitter for hashtags (#awesome)  and allows you to control anything that you can imagine. TweetControl is a mash up of  “The Internet of Things” and social networking. Now that Twitter has a Streaming API, we were able to build a scalable service to control anything in real-time via a social network.

Imagine an “Easy Button” for Twitter. All you have to is Tweet a hashtag from your Twitter account to control anything that has a web service API.

TweetControl Sample Tweet

The applications for TweetControl are endless, and we are excited to see what you come up with. Check out the documentation for TweetControl to help you get started.