The Internet Of Minecraft Things Is Born

Minecraft has come a long way since [Notch] first thought up the idea that would eventually make him a billionaire. The game can be enjoyed on so many levels and become so engaging that grown adults who should know better spend far more time playing it than working on, say, their backlog of Hackaday posts. As if that weren’t bad enough, now Minecraft threatens to break out of screen with the ability to control a WiFi light bulb from within the game.

For those unfamiliar with Minecraft, it’s an open world game that allows players to interact with blocks of various materials. Players can build, destroy, explore and create landscapes and structures. An active modding community contributes everything from cosmetic texture packs to new block types with extended functionality. It was one of these mods that was leveraged to “break the fourth wall” in Minecraft. [giannoug] used the OpenComputers mod, which allows placement of programmable in-game computers with a full complement of peripherals, including an Internet connection. That allowed [giannoug] to send commands to his Brand X eBay WiFi light bulb, the protocol for which his friend [Thomas] had previously reverse engineered. Flip a switch in Minecraft and the real-world light bulb comes on instantly. Pretty cool.

We’ve seen quite a few builds where Minecraft blocks inspired real-world lamps, but this is a step beyond and might be a great way to get kids into programming using Minecraft. But it’s not the first time Minecraft has broken the fourth wall – check out this 2012 effort to build a microcontroller-based Minecraft server that can toggle pins from within the game.

[Thanks to aggvan and Stathis K for the near-simultaneous tips!]

10 thoughts on “The Internet Of Minecraft Things Is Born

    1. “Internet of things” is a phrase that has been tossed around for a loooong time. I don’t remember the first time I heard it, but it was annoying me at least before 2010. I think I first heard the phrase maybe around 2008.

    2. You seem to have your time on backwards.
      Minecraft was released about 5 years ago. The URL of the article you link clearly shows it being only 3 years ago.
      IoT was a term about 15 years ago, and was a “thing” about 30 years ago when a phone switch was wired into a gopher server menu (Except for the fact back then we just called Internet connected devices, well, “devices”)

      1. >IoT was a term about 15 years ago

        it was a term, but not a thing. to be a thing you need to become a buzzword. There was an idea of connecting everything, but buzzwords of the day were Ellison Network Computer and thin client, internet radio, set top boxes, voice recognition.

        Iot became a buzzword maybe less than 5 years ago, after 3d printers were ‘the thing’

  1. Here in Finland it has been decreed from above that children in school will learn since 1st grade to program. Of course, few teachers know how to program, much less what design patterns are. My brother who teaches shop class is getting a bunch of machines, such as a CNC mill for wood, so he is one of the few in his school who has a plan for how to actually go about teaching children to program.

    He mentioned an open source alternative to Lego Mindstorm, and aside from that the only alternative seems to be Minecraft.

    Perhaps modding games could take off?

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