Getting physical aka physical buttons

Yet another physical button kickstarter. Personally, I’ve found IFTTT’s Do button app to be good enough for me to remember to log 20 oz to beeminder each time I finish my water bottle, but a physical button may be more desirable in some cases.


In the spirit of two birds with one stone, your ‘button’ could be a Withings scale located as far as possible from your bed or travelling a certain distance away from your house as measured by a fitness tracker.


Eh, I think Droplet is trying to be too smart. There’s already tons of awesome software out there. The last thing I need is a physical button that wants you to use its apps or its way of doing things. The string “integrat” doesn’t appear on the page either…

But thanks for the heads up! :slight_smile:

I had a hunch Droplet might have just neglected to include stuff about integrations so I contacted them and got an awesome response:

Our IFTTT channel is in development, and an API is on the roadmap. I’m not sure why we haven’t got this on the FAQ yet. I’ll go berate Sohan momentarily. Thanks for the tip!
A Droplet-Beeminder integration would be AWESOME […] we are targeting the Quantified Self crowd as well, so if your Queen is interested please send her our way!
Last: I’m obsessed with bees! Check out a project I did a million years ago (if you want):
Thanks for getting in touch!

I think I’ll back it! And it’s super exciting that one way or another there are about to be a ton of options for physical buttons and other ways to mind autodata from the real world. (Huge thanks to @djahandarie for starting this thread!)

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Hey everyone! This is Josh, co-founder of Droplet. The comments are spot on:

  1. There are tons of “smart” buttons out there,
  2. they’re too expensive,
  3. and how hard is it to use an app, anyhow?!

But we think we’re the best option right now, especially for habit improvement and task tracking. Here’s why:

(If you want to see how it works)

We made our system talk to a smart hub instead of your phone. This means that the Droplets can be way cheaper (BLE), battery-powered for about a year, and they don’t need your phone to work so the message always gets through. The smart hub uses (WiFi) but it’s a one-time purchase. We eventually plan to retail individual Droplets so people can expand their systems.

As an aside: I am squeezing this thing as hard as I can to reduce the price to make it possible for everyone (including the elderly and people on fixed incomes) to be able to use the system. The tech world needs to do a better job on this front.

As to an app, well, how many times have you set an alarm and then snoozed it in to oblivion? For me that’s EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. So we think the physicality and co-location is important, to make it harder for people to “swipe to ignore”. People habituate out of repetitive phone tasks, but you’ll never forget a button if it is attached to the floss!

Our app is just a convenient front-end for setup and configuration and alarms, if you want them. The real magic happens on our servers, where the messages can be pushed to various places, including an IFTTT channel (or your accountability buddy). From here you can hook it up to Beeminder! I’ll be updating the KS page to show this. Sorry I dropped the ball on that one - busy busy busy. Did I mention my wife is 8 months pregnant? My timing is impeccable.

Gotta plug the page here (sorry, my PR guy would kill me if I didn’t):

I hope that helps answer some questions and I’d be happy to talk more. I’m at josh at and I’ll be checking the forums here as well. Just found out about Beeminder today. It’s awesome!

EDIT: This forum software is the best I’ve ever used. I even get editing?! I wanted to add a shoutout @dreev and @djahandarie to my post!


Wow, awesome! That’s great stuff!

I backed Flic recently and I’m expecting them in the mail soon, but TBH I hadn’t thought about phone vs independent at all. Hopefully my Flics will arrive before the Droplet Kickstarter ends so I can still get it in on it if the Flics turn out to be junk. :slight_smile:

I’m glad to see more physical button options cropping up, though. I definitely struggle to find the activation energy to get out my phone to interact with Beeminder.

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Hey @drtall yeah the Flics are cool but I think they got focused on the web automation angle and not as much on practical useability. Looking over their tech I think they are doing some clever things with BLE but not having a hub is a big drawback. At least on iOS, if your app is off then it won’t be able to log the press and the message is lost. Not a problem a lot of the time - but a big problem if you don’t have a smartphone, or need 100% reliability (medication). That said, it’s the early days of IoT so it’s cool that lots of people are trying different approaches. And even if you can’t back us, we’d always appreciate a like on FB!


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Hey, you might already know about this, but you don’t have to interact with Beeminder itself to enter datapoints on your phone, you can send an SMS, use IFTTT’s “Do” app, the Workflow app, or an action in the Drafts app (all iOS, but I imagine there are similar things for Android), etc. They can all be set up to make entering datapoints very quickly; usually with just a tap or two, if you’ve got them set up well.

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@mary: Even better, the Beeminder Android app has its own widgets – almost as frictionless as IFTTT’s Do button app (which also works great on Android).

And @jnewth, thank you so much for chiming in! (And for the kind words about Beeminder; we can’t take credit for the forum software – that’s Discourse, but, yes, highly recommended!) Anyway, I’ve now backed and liked Droplet and will help spread the word about it. I agree that having one hub and dime-a-dozen buttons is a wonderful approach!

Would love to hear what you think of Beeminder too. It’s certainly not for everyone but if you have the right kind of psychology/nerdery you may love it!

Thanks for all the replies!

Mostly I run into problems when either:

  • My phone is in my pocket. I’d rather have a button on my desk.
  • I’m in my morning routine before I’m carrying my phone. I’d rather have a button in my bathroom and a button in my closet.

I do have a smartphone and I don’t really need 100% reliability, but it’s going to be annoying if the Flic can’t talk to my phone from the bathroom. :-/


@drtall All these little devices use roughly the same microcontrollers and antennas so it’s doubtful that any button will be way better than any other. But BLE is definitely LE – low energy, and that’s not just clever branding. Low energy means low range, susceptible to environmental factors. WiFi, on the other hand, is quite powerful. What this means is that our smart hubs act like boosters to get data out - we pass the low power BLE message up to a high power WiFi message to get out to the internet. Hope that pulls back the curtain a bit!

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Yeah it makes a lot of sense. Now I’m surprised I didn’t think about this before!

That’s what I was going to suggest. A synthesized button.

If the issue is getting out of bed, then sleep as android has an alarm that requires you to scan a set of QR codes to turn it of. Annoying in the morning, but it does work (personal preference would be an alarm that required me to turn on the shower).

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Hey all, looks like Droplet is about to successfully complete their Kickstarter and are just shy of breaking their stretch goal of $100k so this would be a great time to order some!

(And, @jnewth, let’s keep talking about official integration! Of course there’s IFTTT but an official integration is probably better, both because we can make it easier to create Droplet-powered goals (and maybe make it more real-time or other slickness) and just for cross-promoting each other which probably helps both of us.)

Thanks @dreev Thanks to you personally for your support and enthusiasm, and also thanks to the Beeminder community in general. After the craziness subsides (and my wife delivers our firstborn) a custom integration is a great idea. You’ve got my email. Let’s talk again!

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Best idea I have heard and that is super cheap is just a nfc tag + tasker. This is what I would go with.

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Can someone who’s tried this comment on it? Seems like there are a bunch of requirements / disadvantages compared to a physical button like Droplet:

  1. Android phone (for Tasker)
  2. Pulling out your phone
  3. Or maybe it works in the background? In which case false positives from accidentally getting your phone near the NFC tag.
  4. Semi-technical setup required.
  5. No satisfying tactile feedback from pressing a button.

Relevant to points #2 amd #3, from an Amazon product summary: “Operating Range ~1cm”

I just ordered 12 NFC tags for less than the price of one Droplet.


For me the goal is to not have to get my phone out to interact with the thing. So I don’t think the NFC tags would work for me. I’m going to find out if Flic is good enough soonish I hope (they keep delaying shipping)