After Amazon introduced their $5 Dash Buttons on March 31st, 2015, the public didn’t really know whether to think this was a logical step in advancing human-computer interactions or if it was mocking consumerism as an April Fool’s Day joke – which just so happened to be the very next day. As it turned out, the Dash Button is very much a real thing and has already received glowing reviews for its ability to eliminate unnecessary computer interactions.

The Dash Button, which is connected to a user’s own WiFi network, can be placed near a number of commonly-used items such as baby diapers, garbage bags, snack items and more. When a specific item runs low, a user simply pushes the Dash Button for that corresponding product and the online retailer immediately processes a next-day delivery order without the need for the user to even log in through a computer or through the Amazon mobile app.

Aiming to get more use out of his own $5 Dash Button, self-described “Startup Dad” Ted Benson of Cloudstitch recently hacked his kid’s Huggies Dash Button to do whatever he wants it to do – and he’s kindly shared his code and process with everybody.

“My wife and I tried a few baby-tracker apps, but they tend to be single-purpose, while your baby’s needs keep changing,” explains Benson.

“And using your smart phone at night disrupts sleep. I want a simple button I can stick to the wall and push to record poops today but wake-ups tomorrow. Lucky for me, Amazon just started shipping their new Dash Buttons, which you can transform into exactly that with just a few minutes.”

After writing a simple program, Benson was able to hijack the Dash Button and turn it into a device that can wake up and connect to a local WiFi network, prevent the button from actually purchasing anything on Amazon, detecting when the button is pushed and finally, recording the button push data to a Google Spreadsheet. In this case, the result is a cheap baby data-collection system that allows Benson and his wife to collect data on their kid’s bathroom patterns.

Of course, the possibilities for such as device are seemingly limitless – and at $5 a pop, it’s possible that somebody could theoretically automate a majority of their daily habits with the push of a button for less than $100 and a handful of IFTTT recipes.

Amazon-Dash-SolidSmack-00001

“Regardless of what you think about Dash as a consumer product, it’s an undeniably compelling prototype of what the Internet of Things is going to look like,” adds Benson.

“I bet you can wire up a Dash button like I did in under ten minutes. That’s pretty incredible.”

For the full instructions on hacking your own Dash Button, head over to Benson’s full Medium post.

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.