Founded by Ayah Bdeir, equal parts engineer and artist, littleBits is part of the “open source hardware” movement, which is a contributor community-driven effort where knowledge is shared and exchanged. littleBits consists of tiny circuit boards that snap together with magnets – so there’s no soldering work to make them attach. In this sense, they’re also removable and re-useable, not unlike LEGO bricks.
The different circuit boards each have specific functions, such as inputs, outputs, and power. The simplest is power – which are modules that provide the juice needed for the others to function. For inputs, there are lots of different kinds of switches and sensors such as light, motion, or sound sensors, or various switches to turn things on and off including dials, slides, dimmers, and on/off switches. Outputs can be anything from fans, motors, buzzers, lights, and even speakers. Simply snap them together using the magnetic connection points to invent interesting, functional, or just plan fun projects.
New bits are added all the time, and with the community shared content, plenty of different contributors are posting their projects which can be excellent starting points for your own experimentation.
What does this mean for you and your child? The ability to tinker and build almost anything you can imagine is at your fingertips with lots of ideas already underway to inspire you. How about a cool wireless Mars Rover? A Spinning School Bus or my favorite so far, the feather powered Tickle Machine. All these projects and more are shared with detailed tutorials over on littleBits’ Project page.
What are some things you would build with these cool electronic bits?