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The idea of a smart home has been around for decades. But until now, you had to be very wealthy-or very nerdy- to have one. A number of companies are aiming to change that, and one of them is Supermechanical, an Austin, Texas-based spin-off from MIT's Media Lab. The company's first product is Twine. For US $125, you get a durable rubbery square, 68.5 millimeters on a side, that can text, tweet, or e-mail alerts when specific changes occur in your home. Each Twine block incorporates Wi-Fi, internal temperature and orientation sensors, and a headset-jackstyle connector for adding an optional moisture sensor or magnetic switch. (Nerds can still play along, adding their own analog or digital sensors with a breakout board that provides terminals for signals and power.) A block will run for months on two AAA batteries before sending an e-mail to tell you that it's time to change the batteries.