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SAM: What Lego and the Internet of Things have in common

SAM Labs, a London-based startup, has created a development kit that should allow anyone with a creative idea for connecting devices enter the Internet of Things (IoT) market.

The kit comes equipped with Sensor Actor Modules, electronic building blocks connected to each other and the Internet, meaning users do not need a high level of technical knowledge to get started.

Read more: What is the Internet of Things? 87% of people haven't heard of it (opens in new tab)

In fact, the SAM building blocks do not require wires or coding, and are simply controlled via the SAM app, which uses the intuitive Flow-Based-Programming model, enabling users to draw a connection between the code on screen and the action off-screen.

SAM Labs CEO, Joachim Horn, said that the project's main aim is to allow anyone to develop connected devices, not just multi-million pound businesses.

"We want to level the playing field in innovation development, away from corporations with millions of dollars to spend on development and empower kids, young designers, start-ups, and small businesses."

SAM comes in three variants depending on the user's familiarity with technology and coding. SAM Learn is aimed at getting seven to 12 year olds interested in IoT devices. SAM Make allows more experienced users to build their prototype device, whether it's a smart refrigerator or connected home lighting, while SAM Pro provides a gateway into the potentially lucrative IoT market.

Currently, nearly 10 billion devices are connected to the Internet, with this figure set to reach 50 billion by 2020. This means that early IoT developers could get a head-start in a potential market estimated at $6.3 trillion (£3.9 trillion).

Read more: Who will control the new world of the Internet of Things? (opens in new tab)

SAM Labs is currently based in the Microsoft Ventures collaborative workspace in Whitechapel, London and will launch its Kickstarter campaign (opens in new tab) on 29 September.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.