Amazon's Dash Buttons Can be Hacked to Do More Than Order Stuff

By Chris Mills on at

Amazon’s Dash buttons are $5 Wi-Fi enabled portals of pure consumerism mercifully contained (at least at the moment) within the confines of the US. That's all well and good – but what if you use them how Mr Bezos wouldn't like you to? Turns out that with a little programming skill, they can be hacked to do almost anything.

In a post on Medium, Edward Benson details how the Dash buttons work, and how he turned them into a cheap baby data-collection system. The buttons are basically just a Wi-Fi radio and a battery. They lie dormant until you push the button, when it activates, and then connects to your Wi-Fi network.

A device connecting to a network is an event you can easily detect, log, and use. Benson set up his button-pushes to feed into a Google spreadsheet, so he uses it as a one-stop system to track every time his baby poops. (Baby poos -> irate parent pushes button -> new entry is made in the poo-tracking spreadsheet of doom.)

But thanks to platforms like IFTTT, which can use one digital action to complete some other, completely different digital action, it’s easy to think of a host of different uses for the buttons, such as opening a smart door lock, turning on your coffee machine (!!!) or mass-poking all your friends on Facebook. The possibilities are just limited by your imagination and your Python skills.

For the full write-up, including the script Benson uses to log events, head over to the Medium post.