ThingModule: 19 GPIO Pins (etc.) & Shield

This page describes the ThingModule (the heart of the SmartShield and ST’s devices) in features…

Custom GPIO Mode

Custom GPIO Mode is used when you want the ThingModule to be more than a connection to the SmartHub. This mode allows you to use the ThingModule’s meta-programming capability to establish Dynamic Device Bindings to any of the ThingModule’s 19 GPIO pins.

These bindings allow you to describe how you want to use these pins in order to expose device capabilities and attributes to the SmartThings Cloud.

The bindings can be established by defining a custom device type in the SmartThings Cloud maker account, or by sending binding commands to the ThingModule over the serial port.

In addition to the dynamic bindings, you can also use meta-programming to set event reporting preferences on the ThingModule to tell us under what conditions it should report status (Events) to the SmartThings Cloud.

Connectivity + Custom GPIO Mode

While we talk about them as “modes”, these modes simply represent capabilities of the device and you can use both at the same time, using dynamic GPIO device bindings while also using the serial interface to communicate with the SmartThings platform. Pretty cool huh?

Is there documentation / specs available now on how to program / use / trigger the 19 GPIO pins?

I am considering buying more ThingShield(s), but I would like to experience the “directly” programmable power of the ThingModule first; in order to extrapolate how little hardware might be required for many types of devices.



We made the decision to not produce the ThingModule for the time being. The only way to program the modules requires a JTAG programmer to update the ember firmware in C.

The idea was to make an in-between language that could be able to update the hardware on the fly with a much more simple language and interface. Unfortunately we had to a put a hold on that in order to focus on larger platform stability and improvements.

I will be removing the references to the ThingModule in our documentation as to not give the wrong impression moving forward.

Wow… that is really disappointing.

Would you be sure to please mention this in a Blog / Email / Kickstarter entry to ensure everyone is aware of the change in plans?


The Kickstarter Project explicitly promised:


We’ve got dozens of ideas to share for how to make our lives smarter, but we’re also eager to hear yours. Tell us about them in the Comments section.

But, if you’re handy with a soldering iron, know that a breadboard isn’t just for cutting Rye, can casually slip Arduino into daily conversation, and are ready to hack your own physical world, we’re ready to support you. For you makers and open hardware buffs, we’ve got:

SmartThings ThingModule - add cloud intelligence to any device

Be fair @tgauchat, they still have a post about the revised TOS to make…


And this response on the topic of Subscription Fees was buried in the Kickstarter updates:

Creator SmartThings on August 21"

@Terry - We are not offering lifetime service for free on the SmartThings purchased through the store. You are correct that we are exploring all pricing models. Most of the models we are exploring still allow for people to try and get great use from SmartThings for free and then offer enhancements for power users. (another example of our Kickstarter backers getting a great deal) We're excited to see what you come up with during your hacking!


This might be helpful, just needs a Zigbee antenna.

And nice find on yet another little “gotcha”. If I wasn’t so sure, I’d say you were working for WigWag or one of those other competitors. :wink:

Thanks for the ZigBee lead. I’m also hoping to make some XBee progress.

Re: WigWag (etc.)… I’m afraid that I will find just as many issues with them as with SmartThings.

WigWag’s Kickstarter campaign became very full of “stretch rewards”. That is a very bad sign, as it represents major drift from the original Project specs. They also have an aggressive planned delivery schedule… I have serious doubts.

The Ubi is far behind schedule. Who knows what will happen to WiMoto and Ivee…

Meanwhile, I haven’t even plugged in my NinjaBlock yet!