Your toilet flushes but can it Tweet?


Getting laid off from a tech job, or any job, is hard to deal with. You have to try to find a new job and also keep busy waiting to get that all important interview. Sometimes you’ll do just about anything to keep busy. Brendan Spaar thinks this guy has come up with a most creative way to keep himself busy and show off his skills at the same time.

Thomas Ruecker was recently laid off from his technology job in Finland. He responded to a tweet for help from a former co-worker wanting info on “smart” toilets and sinks that measure the water usage and other usage info. Being a guy that loves a challenge and using his background in electrical engineering and technology, Ruecker got to work trying make something that would do the job.

Using  miscellaneous parts he salvaged from other things, he did a Macgyver and came up with a device that tracks water usage as well as tweets with each flush. This device is a creative technical effort using a servo motor , a resistor used to control a device, and  a plastic arm using zip tie cut to length. Styrofoam acts as the float in the tank. A BeagleBone Black, an open-source board with an ARM-based processor running Linux, was another component. He wrote the code for the device, and enabled it to use IPv6 and MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport).

This isn’t the only innovative idea to keep him busy. He has plans to build moisture and temperature sensors to monitor his chili plants, and is working on connecting other things in his home, including his coffee maker. Who needs a Smart House that can be an expensive thing to have? All you really need is the time and ability to think outside the box. Brendan Spaar hopes Reucker will find a new job soon. The ability to be creative and use technology in new ways is something that an employer should find invaluable.