Ninja Blocks: $199 Security For Those On A Tight, Tight Budget

Published: Apr 13, 2015 at 08:52 UTC
Ninja Blocks: $199 Security For Those On A Tight, Tight Budget

We feel that we need to start by telling you that a minimalist, shoestring home security system is not adequate protection from burglars. If you can afford it, the first item on your home shopping list should always be a full-fledged, bulletproof system from a leading company.

But at the same time… we recognize that not everyone can go out and drop that type of money. Although not quite as protective as a full system, any security is still better than no security.

Enter Ninja Blocks, the $199 “home security system” that can give you a thin layer of peace of mind without breaking the bank.


How they work

It’s remarkably simple. The “blocks” themselves are simple sensors which are connected to the internet. They stay on 24/7 and keep track of what’s going on in your house (explained more below).

Then, you have one “main block” – you plug this one into your computer and it automatically connects to the sensors placed around your house. You’ll be able to track the following:

  • The humidity of your house
  • The temperature of your house (or at least the temperature in whichever room the sensor is in)
  • When the doorbell is rung
  • When a window or door gets opened (whichever ones you choose to put the sensors on)
  • Much, much more – see all of what you can track on the official site


Setting up alerts + push notifications to your phone

Once you place your sensors and install the software on your computer, you’ll be able to set up alerts. If you’re familiar with how computer programming works, you know that everything is mostly a series of if/then statements – if this happens, then do this.

You can do the same thing with your Ninja Blocks. Here are some examples…

If the temperature in your house is above 70 degrees past 2 AM, then turn the thermostat down to whatever temperature it should be at night. (Maybe you passed out watching TV and forgot to turn the heat off.)

If there is movement in the baby’s room, then send a push notification to your number and alert you know that the baby is awake or restless. (Great if you’re in another part of the house and don’t want to be constantly checking up.)

^ The above example can also be used for home security, too.

If the front door opens between 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM (the times when you are out of the house), then send a push notification and turn on the living room webcam.

If movement is sensed in the backyard during 9 PM and 9 AM, then sound alarm and send a push notification.

See how powerful these things are, despite being so cheap? Any determined burglar would be able to easily avoid them, but they’re a fantastic budget solution for those who can’t afford more substantial home security systems.


Tech knowledge needed + costs

There are two ways to use Ninja Blocks.

The techy way: you have the option of purchasing just the main block ($49) and using your own sensors. This will require you to configure them to work with the main block – not hard if you understand the components required, but very hard if you don’t have that knowledge.

The non-techy way: instead of using your own sensors, buy the sensors that come with the Ninja Block Starter Kit. It’s $199 (instead of just $49) and gives you one each of the following:

  • One Wireless motion sensor.
  • One Wireless door/window contact sensor.
  • One Wireless button.
  • One Wireless temperature and humidity sensor.
  • One Ninja Block (BeagleBone Black Linux computer with an Arduino).
  • One Ethernet Cable.
  • One 5VDC 3 Amp Power supply with connectors for US, EU, UK, and AU.
  • One Temperature Probe

You can also buy multiple of a single sensor. For example, if you want to monitor both the front and back doors, you’d get another door/window contact sensor.


Good, but not great

Don’t think of Ninja Blocks as a home security system alternative – think of them as stepping stones to your full-fledged system. They’re good for rudimentary security and a bit of peace of mind, but they won’t stop the seasoned burglars who know what they’re doing.

Go to the official sales page to see if there are any left in stock – the product is still in its beta stage, which means that releases are usually limited to 500 units at a time.

You can view the Kickstarter behind the project here.



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