The Open Button

I’ve been wanting a simple button that does things. What things? Any things.

Similar to that online store named after the thing that is burning horribly, I want a button that does something on the internet.

Ideas for uses:
Track when I last took that X medication.
Track when I last took my dog out.
Track when I last thought of purple elephants.
Track when that weird noise happens in your neighbourhood so you can figure out where it is coming from.
Keep tabs on when someone does a particularly annoying chore.
Turn a light on.
Turn a light off.
You are still thinking about those purple elephants, aren’t you?
Order a consumable that you are nearly out of.
Start sleep mode on your connected speakers and lights.
Track the last time you saw your neighbours.
Makeshift doorbell.
Those elephants really haven’t left your mind, have they?
Use it to track when you get to work.
… and thousands of other uses!

To solve this, I designed a board that looks like this:


But the board alone doesn’t do anything, you gotta put little chippy things on it, and maybe even some software!

Yikes, so much work!!!

So yeah, we’ll put some chippy things on there, maybe a brainy chip, and make it talk to the interwebs!!!

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As a slightly more serious post, I want a button. I don’t know what it does on the internet yet, but I know it wakes up, does something on the internet, and then goes to sleep until I touch the button again.

I have an onboard LED for giving feedback (probably a blink when touched, a few blinks when the internet stuff is done, and constant blinking for error state).

I have support for one button via a jumper pin. This pin also supports touch sensing, so it could be connected to a metal case and that could be your button, (or just a regular momentary press button).

Software-wise, if you hold the button for a long time, I’m thinking it’ll host an access point where you can configure the button, connect to your internet wifi, etc. Out of the gate I’m thinking things like Zapier and ITTT.

I want this thing to run ultra-low power most of the time. I’m hoping I can get a year or two out of a single set of AA batteries.

The entire bill of materials is under 10 bucks including board and shipping (I don’t have an exact number yet). The highest cost components are the ESP32, the PCB, and the voltage regulator (in that order). I haven’t chosen a battery holder yet, but those are easy to come by.

The idea is, cheap, should sip power, and does whatever you tell it to do.


It sounds like you’re already on to a (more modern) solution. Here’s the internet button I use to talk to without fishing out my phone:

I used a Spark Core Particle device.