This Lonely Christmas Tree brings the season's greetings by lighting up when its owner receives a YouTube comment or an e-mail. The festive little pine is the brainchild of Make magazine freelance writer Matt Richardson.
"I was just talking to a friend one day about making things online, and we were joking about what would cheer up a lonely Christmas tree," Richardson says. "It's a neat sort of proof-of-concept project to show how you can connect really anything to the Internet these days."
Richardson used Arduino, an open-source programming language and microcontroller used in many "Internet of Things" devices, to connect his tree to the Internet.
"I'm kind of a geeky guy and I like to mess around with code," says Richardson, who is currently studying for his master's at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program. "But even for people who don't have the technical know-how, it's getting easier every day."