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Friday, November 02, 2012

WeMo: a Wonderful Way to add Visual Cues to Organize Your Life #Wemotivate



The Wemo is a smart phone enabled motion sensor
and/or switch to help you manage your life that can be
controlled by iphone or some very cool ways using
if this then that.
Visual organizing and visual cues are becoming a powerful part of my own self-organization. When I was perusing If This Then That (ifttt.com) and saw something called the WeMo, I wanted one and tweeted about the coolness of this app.

What is a WeMo?

There are two “flavors” of WeMo which can work together or separately. One looks like an outlet and can provide power or turn off power to whatever is hooked into the device. Another looks like a white burrito with a purple center cut in half and senses motion. Both have added cool new enhancements to my life in different ways.

My WeMo story

I struggle with balance. Getting up at 5 am each day is important to me, but I often trip over things including the cats and whatever was left out the night before. I’ve set up my WeMo plug into the light in the den and have it do the following using if this then that:

  • Monday - Friday the light is turned on in the Den at 5am
  • Saturday - the den light is turned on at 7am
  • Any day I go to school (as seen on my Google calendar by the event marked school), the WeMo is turned off when I leave for school. It uses an interface with my Google calendar so that otherwise, the light stays on until the sun comes up.
  • Every night, the WeMo turns on the light at sunset. This uses a channel on If-This-Then-That which keeps up with sunrise and sunset. I’m usually in the den and I can keep working without getting up.
  • Every night, the WeMo turns the den light off at 9pm so I’ll have a cue to STOP working. One of my biggest problems is that once I start I don’t stop. When the light goes off, I have set my limit and say - OK, now I’m going to decompress before crashing.

Some people hook these devices into the family tv to turn off the TV at a certain time and establish other limits. It can also log when it is turned on and off so if you use the plug to turn things off and on, you can track this activity. You can have it log to a google spreadsheet when the WeMo switch comes off or on.

Long distance light switch.

As a funny story, when I first got it and used the remote control on my iphone to turn it off and on, I called it a “daughter control” - when I’d turn the light off and on, my daughter would groan from the den and say “Mom, stop.” Now, when I’m on the road and know everyone is in the den, I’ll actually flick the light and they know I’m thinking about them. I don’t do it a lot, but it is kind of fun to be in New Jersey, Dallas, and Chicago and control the light in my den. ;-)

WeMo Motion.

My motion detector is in the kitchen. I have teenagers that I love dearly. My big problem is that I’m a heavy sleeper but I do want to know when my kids are up and about and not sleeping so I can help guide their schedules, etc. I have the WeMo Motion log the motion in the kitchen after there has been one hour of inactivity -- it writes it to a google spreadsheet so I can check up on things.


I have it by the kitchen door, so it is a handy way of keeping up who is coming and going and when. I sleep better at night knowing it is there. ;-)

Note: In this post, I share how I use Wemo, but please, scroll to the bottom and apply to GET YOUR OWN from two students of mine who are working with Belkin to put Wemo's in the hands of at least 10 USA students to test them. This is part of their 20% project for me and I'd appreciate any retweets and spreading the word to help West and Matthew talk about the Wemo! Their google form is embedded below.

Think about visual cues to help you manage your life

I’m a visual person. I know I need to stop working at 9pm but time means nothing to me. I have no internal clock that tells me what time it is and have been known to work until I collapse with exhaustion. Visual cues are perfect for me. I wish I had a dozen WeMos and am asking for another one for Christmas! I also like the fact that I’m usually on my ipad and can just hit a button to turn off the light when I’m done if I want to finish before 9pm.

There are so many ways we’re going to be able to automate our homes and schools and this is just one of them. The fact that you can control via social media and all kinds of triggers is very cool.

WeMo Wonder Contest: Can your students invent cool uses for the WeMo?

Belkin had reached out to me through my initial tweet and I have 2 students who wanted to do something innovative and cool. So we discussed and pitched the idea to Belkin who was eager to do something innovative and different to get the ideas going for their WeMo line of products.

Because these switches can interact with social media - tweets can turn on lights. Football scores can automatically trigger alarms -- so many things can be done with these devices.

So, I’ll let the students share information on the contest in their own words below, but you have until November 1st to apply to be a WeMo Wonder and get your free wemo. 

Students must have a mentoring teacher although the devices can be tested at home or school. We want you to share what you’re doing on Social media. 

Belkin decided to have a contest to name the best of the WeMo Wonder competition (see terms and conditions) and will be tweeting out to the hashtag #WeMotivate This is going to be a lot of fun and I hope you’ll apply with a student or two..  

(See what my students are doing on tumblr blog.http://wemowonders.tumblr.com/ or their twitter @wemowonders - Note that my students are not affiliated with Belkin in any way but I appreciate Belkin’s willingness to do something cool and different and let my students have a fantastic project to learn about social media and a very cool new gadget. Please retweet and reshare and ask your students to apply.)




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