Blynk is a new platform that allows you to quickly build interfaces for controlling and monitoring your hardware projects from your iOS and Android device. After downloading the Blynk app, you can create a project dashboard and arrange buttons, sliders, graphs, and other widgets onto the screen. Using the widgets, you can turn pins on and off or display data from sensors.
Whatever your project is, there are likely hundreds of tutorials that make the hardware part pretty easy, but building the software interface is still difficult. With Blynk, though, the software side is even easier than the hardware. Blynk is perfect for interfacing with simple projects like monitoring the temperature of your fishtank or turning lights on and off remotely. Personally, I’m using it to control RGB LED strips in my living room.
Blynk started as a Kickstarter campaign, raising just over $49k. The platform went live on May 22, and has been continuously updated since. In fact, new widgets have just been added to the app for Twitter, push, and email integration.
Currently, Blynk supports most Arduino boards, Raspberry Pi models, the ESP8266, Particle Core, and a handful of other common microcontrollers and single-board computers, and more are being added over time. Arduino Wi-Fi and Ethernet shields are supported, though you can also control devices plugged into a computer’s USB port as well.
One of my favorite aspects of Blynk is that you can create a local Blynk server, allowing you to keep everything within your own home network. This is useful if you’re setting up a network in a remote location, or if you’re concerned about your traffic going through other machines in the cloud.
While there are other platforms for controlling hardware over the internet (Particle, ThingSpeak, Temboo, IFTTT), Blynk is one of the most user-friendly I’ve seen yet, and it’s also free and open-source under an MIT license. For more information, and to download the Blynk library for your next project, check out their website.