The Magic Paradigm Makes It Easy to Program IoT Devices with a Wand

The Internet of Things (IoT) doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and just about every appliance and device for the home is getting the “smart” treatment. Those IoT devices are easy enough to setup when you’re using them exactly as intended, like using an Amazon Echo to turn on a smart LED bulb. But complex interactions in a smart home are difficult to program, and most users don’t have the technical skill to do so. That’s why a team of Austrian researchers have developed the “Magic Paradigm” for programming IoT devices with a wand.

The Magic Paradigm isn’t intended to be released for actual commercial products — at least not for now. Instead it’s being used to research the idea of tangible programming. In contrast to traditional programming, or even visual block-based programming, tangible programming would allow users to program devices by touching them. For instance, you might first touch your Amazon Echo and then your smart bulb to indicate that the Echo should turn on the light. What the researchers wanted to find out was if more complex interactions were feasible.

To test that, they built the Magic Programming Kit (MPK). That includes a “magic wand” and a number of devices that are commonly seen in IoT and home automation systems. The magic wand has an RFID reader, and the other devices have tags. By touching the objects in particular sequences, different objects can be registered. The “magic board” provides actions to use with those objects, kind of like if/then statements in conventional programming. In testing, the researchers found that test users, both with and without technical skill, enjoyed using the Magic Paradigm. Technical users solved the test tasks more quickly, but non-technical users were still able to solve them without becoming frustrated.

The Magic Paradigm Makes It Easy to Program IoT Devices with a Wand was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original article: The Magic Paradigm Makes It Easy to Program IoT Devices with a Wand
Author: Cameron Coward