Relays are cute little (2.8″ diagonal) LCD color screens which connect to the Internet via your wifi network and can be used to display any images or messages of your choice. Once your Relay is connected to wifi, you can control it from anywhere else in the world by logging in to the Relay website and entering a message or uploading an image for it to show. Within 5 minutes or less, the target Relay will update to show the message or image. Relays come in two versions, desk or wall-mounted.
This post is specifically about one really interesting use for Relays – placing a desk-version Relay under your control on the desk of somebody else (provided you’re allowed to do so!). In other words, you give somebody a desk Relay, but you register the device yourself and keep the login/password to control it.
At home, you could think of placing a Relay on the desk of your spouse / significant other and surprising them with interesting pictures you think they’d like, or with daily memes, announcements, or whatever else they’d appreciate. You can of course change the picture or message you show on the Relay whenever you want and as often as you want.
At work, the most common use for this is setting up to-do lists on the desks of your employees with stuff you need them to get done. The Relays become a captive screen you alone control – employees can’t really dodge them or change what they show :-). Whatever you upload to the Relay will be shown. Compare that to for example emailing them, with the risks of emails being missed, deleted, forgotten, and so forth. Relays become a really useful productivity tool if you’re concerned about employees missing action items.
Of course if your employees aren’t desk-bound, such as on a factory floor or similar environment, a wall-mounted Relay might be more appropriate. You could also place those in common areas such as kitchens, dining areas, lobbies, etc.
So get the people around you set up with Relays and make it all happen!
Relays are cute little (2.8″ diagonal) LCD color screens which connect to your wifi network and can be used to display any images or messages of your choice. Once your Relay is connected to wifi, you can control it from anywhere else in the world by logging in to the Relay website and entering a message or uploading an image for it. Relays come in two versions, desk or wall-mounted.
So what are Relays good for? The uses are limited only by your imagination, but here are some of the most popular applications:
Did you know that desk Relay models make great nightlights? You can pretty much display any color of light you like too, using their color LCD screens. And getting it done is easy as 1-2-3. Just upload an appropriate background image to your desk Relay, wait a few minutes for it to update, and you’re done!
Where to get suitable images? Google Images is your friend. For example, if you’re really looking for something on the dark side, just type in something like “dark backgrounds”:
Lots of promising choices there. Just download one you like, upload it to your Relay, and voila’ – nightlight to match your mood. Or you could try something on the lighter side if you really need to light your way to the bathroom at 2am in the morning:
You get the idea. You can use this trick to create your own flexible night light with your choice of light colors and intensity, and change it every night to suit your mood. Simple but neat, eh?
ps. If you don’t care about Relays but you need a night clock, always remember that Relays double as accurate clocks anytime you want. Just upload a message with the special reserved keyword for time in your timezone to your Relay. For example, uploading a message containing just “[dtc]” to your Relay, including everything between the quotes including the square brackets, will make your Relay display the date & time in the Central timezone, updated every 5 minutes. (As you might have guessed, the keywords for the Eastern / Mountain/ Pacific timezones are [dte], [dtm], and [dtp]).
If you don’t have a desk Relay yet, you can pick one up here. Sweet dreams!
Setting up and using a Relay for the first time is easy and only takes a few minutes. You will need the Device ID and Passphrase that came with your Relay to complete the setup process. You should keep the Device ID and Passphrase in a safe place. You will also need an Android or iOS mobile phone.
A – Registering your account and device
- Go to https://relay.foundrytechnologies.com and click the link to register a new account (“Not yet registered? To register a new Relay account, click here.”)
- Register a new account using your name, email address, and password. Choose a secure password different than your device ID or passphrase.
- After you complete the registration process, login to your new account at https://relay.foundrytechnologies.com.
- Click the link on the left to “Register New Device”. Register your new device using your Device ID and Passphrase which came with your Relay. At this stage you will assign a “Pretty Name” of your choice to your device, which is an easy name to remember the device by. For example “Doorway Relay” or “Office Door Relay.”
B – Connecting your Relay to your wifi network
- Plug in your Relay to the microUSB power supply. You should see a message on its screen that indicates it is awaiting wifi setup.
- On your mobile phone, go to Wifi settings and connect to the open access point “RelayAP” which you should see there. Your mobile phone should then prompt you to sign in to the network. Sign in to that access point by clicking the prompt on your mobile phone. (Note: On some phones the prompt won’t be visible. If you don’t see any prompt to sign in to the access point after connecting to access point RelayAP, open your phone browser instead and connect to web address http://192.168.4.1).
- Choose the “Configure WiFi” option on your mobile phone. Select the WiFi network you’d like your Relay to connect to and enter your wifi network password. Click save.
- Your Relay now knows your wifi access point and password and is able to connect to them. It should restart automatically (if it does not, you can always reset your Relay by unplugging it, and plugging it in again).
Note: If you did not register your device as described in Section A above, the screen on your Relay will show as “Inactive Device” after it connects to your wifi. Simply complete the steps under Section A to correct this. If you did complete the steps in Section A, the message should change to one indicating that no messages or images have been assigned to it yet. See Section C on how to correct that.
C – Using your Relay
- Login to your account at https://relay.foundrytechnologies.com if you are not already logged in.
- You can assign new messages to be displayed on your Relay by using the “Create New Message” option. You can see messages you have already created by using the “List/Edit Your Messages” option.
- Similarly you can upload images to your Relay using the “Upload New Image” option and see images you have uploaded using the “List/Edit Your Images” option.
- Note that if you assign both a message and an image to the same Relay, the Relay will always give priority to displaying the message. Images are only displayed if the Relay has no messages to display.
- Every 5 minutes your Relay will check in with our server to update to the message/image you’d like it to display. You can control your Relay from anywhere on earth by logging in to your account and setting the messages/images you’d like.
Note: If the image or message on your Relay is rotated the wrong way round, go to “List Your Devices” and use the option to change your screen rotation there to correct it.
We’re pleased to announce we’re now shipping Relays for just $49.95 each including free shipping anywhere in the USA! Shipping to the rest of the world (certain countries excluded) is also available, for an additional cost of just $19.95 per Relay ordered. To order, go here: http://foundrytechnologies.com/relay.php
Relays are available in two colors, white and black, and two versions, indoor and outdoor. Indoor Relays are suitable for placement on desk, tables, etc. Outdoor Relays come with mounting holes and mounting screws which can be used to attach them to walls outside, such as next to your doorbell.
Relays will ship with a microUSB US power supply (110V) if going to a US address, or an EU power supply (220-240V) if going to the rest of the world. The power supply will be white or black too, depending on the color of Relay ordered. The included power cord is about 3 feet long, although any other microUSB cable would also work if desired.