Spark Cores

Has anyone else decided to back Spark Cores on Kickstarter?  The developers are claiming that they will be SmartThings-compatible, and their kits seem like a great way to get into making Arduino-compatible devices.


I think this could be my path into the maker world.  Any thoughts on these?

Seems pretty cool. I just have no idea where I’d start…and am not sure if this kit would be idiot proof enough for me.

It looks like the kit with the board and basic stuff you need would be pretty good, and the shields look somewhat idiot proof.


Supposedly they will be posting schematics for all of their suggestions.  I guess I’ll see how adventurous I’m feeling, or how many toys I think I can slip past my wife…

I’m a backer. I figured I’ll be buying various Arduino-like things over the next year, so might as well give this nifty combo a try. I hope they are a Project that delivers quickly!

Gray – We’ll be building cloud-to-cloud integration between Spark and SmartThings - plus their offices are right down the street from our Minneapolis office.  A number of us at SmartThings have backed the Spark Core on Kickstarter and are excited to play with it as well!

I’m on their beta list and mine should be shipped the 21st of this month (I suspect I’ll have it the middle of the following week). I’m sure there will be lots of kinks to work out (hey, it’s beta), but that’s one of the first things I plan on doing- Configuring it to work with my SmartThings system. It may not be ready at this point but if it is, it certainly provides the ST platform with a broad new range of devices. Sure you could do cloud to cloud API calls to configure some WiFi routers, end devices (e.g. Nest etc.) but being able to control a WiFi connected end device with a Spark Core in it doesn’t hold you to the Zigbee/Z-Wave limit, or allows you to connect a “thing” the manufacturer may have not intended. Somewhat like the ST Arduino shield but with WiFi. Some sites I work with have a campus-wide WiFi footprint using things like and ST integration would be awesome, yet building out a Zigbee/Z-wave mesh on top of an already existing WiFi mesh just doesn’t make sense.

I don’t have any major ideas yet but I’m starting to pencil a couple of things down now that I know it’s on the way… definitely looking forward to a remote/wireless IDE. Being a traditional C programmer I’m not 100% on board with the web-based IDE idea yet, but I have to admit the SmartThings IDE has changed my perspective on that, while also proving how powerful it is to tap a button and have a new app/device pushed to my account. That approach to programming (e.g. being able to debug and write code for a motion sensor screwed into a wall 50ft away) is a huge leap forward in my opinion and also something both of these projects have in common.

@cmonroe how has your experience with the Spark Core been? I’m curious to know if I could use one to create an led notification system for my Man Cave to let me know when somebody is coming to the door, baby wakes up, Temperature outside, time, etc. It’d be nice to use the spark core and be able to mount on a wall in a self contained package. It’d only need a power cable to the spark core.

I’ve had great luck with my cores so far, very impressed. I’m primarily a C programmer so the language used by Spark is a bit more natural to me than Groovy but they serve completely different purposes. There were some issues early on but the Spark team and a very active community have triaged and fixed everything I ran into within the first month or so after release (as expected). I would certainly say to go for it; great product and another great active community like SmartThings. They’ve also consistently delivered on promises; a big one for me was delivery of the “Spark Cloud” software as a self contained packaged I can run on my LAN. For me this means my cores continue to operate no matter the state of my network connection (assuming they only need to work with local resources).

Question: is it possible to connect devices other than Spark Core to the Spark Cloud? SmartThings is also billed as an “open platform” but the communication protocol between the hub and the cloud is closed. Is Spark Cloud truly “open”? Thanks for the info!