Lego for the Internet of Things
Michael Alba posted on May 30, 2017 | 6610 views
Several different types of Interstacks blocks are available for IoT design. (Image courtesy of Interstacks.)
Several different types of Interstacks blocks are available for IoT design. (Image courtesy of Interstacks.)

If you’ve ever wished that Internet of Things (IoT) design could be as simple as playing with Lego, it’s time you met Interstacks. Interstacks are square-shaped blocks that snap together to provide customized IoT functionality. Programmed with a visual authoring tool called Stackbuilder, Interstacks aim to enable an intuitive, easy and (dare I say) fun approach to IoT design.

Each Interstacks block has a unique function, giving flexibility and customizability to IoT designs. To start off, every stack requires what’s called a “Superbase,” which acts like the stack’s CPU. After that, there are currently 11 blocks available on the Interstacks website, any combination of which can be layered on the Superbase:

  • A Wifi block: to connect to the cloud or other stacks
  • A Serial block: to connect IoT sensors and other peripherals
  • An I/O Expander: which offers 8 digital and 8 analog I/O pins
  • A USB Keyboard/Mouse block: to connect interfacing tools
  • An Audio block: with a speaker, microphone and MIDI synthesizer
  • Two Motor blocks: one for servo motors and one for stepper motors
  • An HDMI block: to connect to an external display
  • An Infrared Remote block: for receiving and transmitting IR codes
  • A Barcode block: to connect a barcode scanner
  • An Insteon block: for Insteon-compatible smart home modules

After assembling a stack, users configure their application using the Stackbuilder drag-and-drop interface. Like other visual IoT tools, Stackbuilder aims to offer a user-friendly approach to building IoT applications, with no coding required. However, more experienced users can add their own functionality using Python programming.

The Stackbuilder visual interface. (Image courtesy of Interstacks.)
The Stackbuilder visual interface. (Image courtesy of Interstacks.)

Altogether, Interstacks hopes to empower even non-engineers to delve into the world of IoT design. That’s not to say that Interstacks is just for laypeople—with its plug-and-play, drag-and-drop configuration, Interstacks has the potential to be a powerful prototyping tool.

You can learn more about Interstacks on the official website. For more ways to simplify IoT development, check out New Tool Narrows Down Your Choice of IoT Platform.


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