What's the Latest Development?
While at New York's Tir Na Nog bar, John Mayo-Smith of the creative agency R/GA observed a fellow employee taking drags from an e-cigarette. Later, after reading a New York Times article about them, he instructed his team to hook one up to the Internet. Within four days, they had created a prototype -- by using an Arduino microprocessor with a Bluetooth shield and some conductive tape on the e-cigarette's button -- and written a matching iPhone app to boot. When the button is pressed, a signal travels from the cigarette to the Arduino to the app, which records statistics and sends tweets to an account titled TweetingCiggy.
What's the Big Idea?
E-cigarettes are slowly growing in popularity as an anti-smoking device, despite some groups' fears that the nicotine-and-water vapor they produce may lead non-smoking experimenters to try the real thing. This could be seen as a boon for tobacco companies, but R/GA senior communications associate Martin Maisonpierre says that their tool is more about "really understanding what your smoking habits are. You see, like, 'Oh my god, every Thursday after a meeting I consume three cigarettes. Wow, that's a stress point in my life.' Being able to understand and track those things can be a benefit."
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