Hack your own smart home with littleBits

With smart devices on the rise, we are inching ever so close to a world comprised of entirely connected homes. With major backing from corporations like Apple and Google, the emergence of [Atmel based] startups on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, as well as more and more Makers tinkering around to automate in-house tasks, it is clearer than ever that the market is ready to grow at a rapid pace.

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As this new generation of intelligent products begin to increasingly power our daily lives, littleBits has introduced its latest Smart Home Kit to put the power of the IoT into consumer hands. While those using the kits to essentially hack their houses may not be the same as those who will buy something like a smart thermostat or refrigerator, the DIY electronics company hopes to disrupt the industry and become a part of the growing smart home pie. Latest research has revealed that the U.S. smart home market is expected to grow from its current size of $1.3 billion to $7.8 billion in 2019, and there to be four connected devices for every person in the world by 2020.

“People deserve alternative ways to create smart homes rather than having to subscribe to certain products or hubs,” Krystal Persaud, ‎littleBits Product Design Lead, recently told Forbes.

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The kit, which provides all the components necessary to connect home, features 14 bits and five new modules including an MP3 player, number displaying bit, threshold, temperature sensors, IR transmitter, and an AC switch. Now, instead of discarding seemingly “dumb” things for smarter ones, Makers can retrofit an old appliance or even invent something that can go on to become the next big thing.

“We’re focusing on the power of the modules to break down complex technologies so anyone can build, prototype, and invent with electronics. We are democratizing hardware. With the Smart Home Kit, we’re extending the power of the cloudBit and bringing this idea of democratization into the home,” the littleBits team writes.

In recent months, littleBits has taken huge strides to stretch the limits of imagination. Around Maker Faire Bay Area, the company launched its Arduino module. This programmable ATmega32U4 powered component enabled Makers to easily incorporate sketches into their littleBits circuits. A few months later, they launched another pillar of “power,” the cloudBit. In what the company hoped would alter the perception of these Lego-like bricks from toys to tools, the electronics kit manufacturer announced a new component that empowered any littleBits creation to the become an Internet-connected ‘thing’ without the need to solder, wire or program for basic projects. Then, the team unveiled its app store-like bitLab, which was the first of its kind in the field of electronics.

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Many smart home systems require a hub and sensors that only work with their own infrastructure; however, littleBits believes that users should not have to subscribe to one particular company’s smart home ecosystem. Instead, with littleBits, users can have access to our entire modular library to mix and match modules to fit a specific need.

“We shouldn’t be sitting here and just consuming whatever big companies make for us,” CEO Ayah Bdeir explained to Forbes“There’s no reason to throw out your toaster or coffee maker.”

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littleBits also offers a number of smart home projects ideas with the kit. Take the Toilet Paper Inventory, for instance. It alerts everyone in your house via text message when someone takes the last roll of toilet paper. Or, the Good Morning Sunshine. This Maker-created project is a double duty alarm clock that not only wakes you up by opening your curtains, but chimes your favorite tunes as well.

Aside from its affordability, another key feature of this kit is its ability to embed modules inside custom housing that fits your style. Tinkerers will no longer be bound to the aesthetics of Internet of Things manufacturers; instead, you can ensure your latest smart devices match the decor of your home.

“Lastly, we all have really unique problems. Large smart home companies create solutions for key problems (e.g. smart lighting, coffee makers, speakers, etc.), but what if you have a specific problem at home that a big product company may choose not to solve.”

With littleBits’ new Smart Home Kit, that will all change. Interested in learning more? You can read the company’s official announcement here.

1 thought on “Hack your own smart home with littleBits

  1. Pingback: Control your Philips Hue lighting with this DIY controller | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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