Pinoccio – An Ecosystem for the Internet of Things


[Pinoccio] is currently an Indeigogo crowd-sourced project that aims use the real-world programmability of the Arduino through the internet using a wifi connection. One could rightly point out that this can already be done through the use of a wifi shield. Before ruling this device out, just “shush your shussins” and consider that it’s designed specifically for interfacing with “things” over the internet. This can replace several components (see 1:10 in the video after the break) and should be less of a hassle.

Additionally, with a shield on one of these devices, several other [Pinoccio] boards can communicate with the Internet using this as a hub in a mesh network. This is similar to how the many “smart” electrical meters work, with a grid router being a central hub for communications. Additionally, this board has a built in temperature sensor and a RGB (instead of a single-color) LED, so you can do some interesting stuff with it right out of the box. Assuming this project gets funded, which seems likely at this point, we’re excited to see the projects that get built using it!


  1. Ryan Leach says:

    looks like a buLkier electric imp.

  2. andrew says:

    I’d recognize that GS1011 anywhere…

  3. says:

    the best part was the ~ 1 minute stop-motion video (minus the goofy audio!)
    I might be happy to purchase a hairbrush for the girl in the video!

  4. Bob Fleming says:

    I know this thing does 802.15.4 but it also says in the Q&A that it doesn’t have ZigBee support at the moment since there is no OSS implementation – any thoughts on how to secure communication then? The ATmega128RFA1 supports AES, but I wonder whether and how the Pinoccio supports that feature of the chip.

    • Matt Grooms says:

      A simple command in the sketch activates AES encryption. By using the same seed value in the script running on each of your Pinoccios you create a private group. The groups mesh traffic is all encrypted and can’t be snooped by an outsider.

      • Bob Fleming says:

        That’s interesting – didn’t expect it to be exposed as a sketch API – I’ll look into it, thanks. It’s been a VERY long time since I’ve written any sketches.
        FWIW when digging around trying to find out more about 802.15.4 I also found the ZigBit, which might suit my (and other people’s) purposes (~automation+accurate remote power monitoring) better (smaller, I don’t need LED, battery, that many I/O).
        Thanks again.

  5. MrX says:

    Looks a lot like PanStick + PanStamp:

    I would definitely go with panstamps since they already have a nice ecosystem (220V actuators, sensors, etc..)

  6. Jeff, you’re not the first one wanting a lower price. Post-campaign, we’re aiming for much cheaper bare-bones boards:

  7. Bob, the ATmega128RFA1 does indeed support hardware AES 128. In our Pinoccio library, you simply enable a flag to enable encryption, then use a shared secret on all of the Pinoccios you want to secure, and you’ll be good to go.

    #define PINOCCIO_SECURITY_KEY mys3cretkey

    (If you really want Zigbee on Pinoccios, Atmel has a blob version called Bitcloud you can download and use.)

  8. gyro_john says:

    Great video, Eric! I loved the whiteboard animation. Great pacing. Good luck to you all.

  9. The Zigduino r2 is an ATmega128RFA1 based Arduino variant that has a LiPo charger, takes standard Arduino shields, and is shipping next week.

    • Hey Pierce, love the Zigduino. Cool to hear you’re coming out with another revision with a LiPo charge controller. Have you had trouble keeping the quiescent current down to reasonable levels? That was a struggle for us.

      • Not when it’s on battery power. There’s a cuttable SMD jumper to kill the power LED, and the 3.3V regulator has a sub-microamp quiescent current. The biggest power draw is of course the Atmega itself. The USB interface (and its LEDs) are powered off USB only and don’t draw power when on battery. All other LEDs are under software control, and there’s just nothing else on the board to draw power when it’s asleep.

        This assumes you have the pins set correctly when you go into sleep — failure to do that can kick your power consumption up alarmingly. Unfortunately, you can’t provide workable defaults for this because the correct pin setting is determined by the attached circuits.

  10. Alex G says:

    Anyone know if its ever cheaper to get these sort of things after this whole funding process is finished. for example the 10 boards + wifi for $500 will it be the same price or lower after they reach the 60K they need? Something like this might be what I need for a project at work.

  11. cosmocrazy says:

    $50 per board is extremely expensive considering there are very similar solutions out there already, such as the recent Radioblock which features a 32-bit ARM Cortex M0, $30 JTAG debugger add-on, 802.15.4 radio, a place for a CR2032 battery, FCC certification and an Arduino library. Even on the Pinoccio website it says “The bare-bones Pinoccio price should come in under $20.” Radioblocks are $20 per board. The way I see it, Radioblock is exactly what the Pinoccio wants to become.

  12. Urza9814 says:

    Eh, if I was looking to do something like this I’d just grab a Raspberry Pi with maybe a wifi dongle. Not much more expensive, but FAR easier to use. I’ve just been experimenting with one myself…and while I own a soldering iron, I’m terrible with hardware. I’m the kind of guy who can take a schematic from the internet, get those exact parts, put the whole thing together…and never be able to figure out why the damn thing doesn’t work. I have trouble just getting a 555 to generate a square wave. Yet I’ve managed to get my Pi controlling all kinds of stuff in only a couple hours. Not to mention the incredible ease of programming the thing in bash! :D

  13. Marcello says:

    Do they realize that calling it pinoccio is just like calling your product “tam sawyer” or “huckleberry fonn”?

  14. Marco says:

    I will not fund it, only for the missing “H”. It’s irritating..

  15. Robot says:

    Whoa that is a slick campaign you’ve got there! Also a cool product, funny FAQ and it seems your team really has it together. Nice.

    What I really want to know is if we raced any of the same alleycats in NY, Sally?

    – Robot

    • @Robot – Ah! Cool, this might be my favorite question so far! Let’s see, I was a bike messenger a long time ago — 2001-2003, around then. So, I raced in Mike Dee’s “Drug Wars” race on April 20, 2002. :) I race in Squid’s EPIC “Warriors” race that summer. I also did some other East Coast alleycats, like Ides of March — I think it was a 3-city series in Baltimore, DC, and Richmond VA. Some race in Philly, others I can’t remember the names of. So many fun memories!

      What about you? Maybe we raced together in NYC?

    • ( also, thanks for the nice words about Pinoccio! (

      • Robot says:

        @Sally – Well, I moved to Boston and did just about every race I got word of but didn’t start racing in NY until Mike Dee and CK’s 5 Borough Generals alleycat stage race starting with Rumble Through The Bronx (which was by far my favorite race.) So I quickly started taking the Lucky Star down just about every weekend getting to know and love NY. Some of the notable races in NY were Queens Riot, Broadway Bombin, Moster Track (of course) and shoot. . . so many others like the Scumbag Cups, some crazy things in Baltimore, etc. Bike Kill was always a great weekend. For me this was in 2005 so it seems that we probably didn’t cross paths but with it having been such a small scene chances were good.

        – Robot

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