Makey Makey and littleBits launch new ATmega32U4 based module


You can now use everyday objects to trigger your littleBits. 


A few years ago, MIT students Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum were on the lookout for a way to transform everyday things into touchpads. The duo (now JoyLabz) would eventually go on to create MaKey MaKey, which made its Kickstarter debut back in May 2012 and garnered over $500,000 in a matter of weeks. The basic kit was comprised of a USB cable and an ATmega32U4 based circuit board with alligator clips, which once attached to an object, opened the doors for Makers to explore their wildest imaginations — allowing them to do everything from perform piano classics on a series of bananas, play Super Mario chiptunes on Play-Doh and even make beats by dipping chicken nuggets into sauce.

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Just the other day, our friends at littleBits introduced the newest addition to their not so ‘bitsy’ family: the Makey Makey Bit. As you can imagine, this new module brings the highly-popular DIY platform into the littleBits library, and thus, provides users with countless interactions that were never before conceived, let alone possible, with other products.

“Now, you can trigger your littleBits modules with everyday objects or use littleBits modules to trigger events in your computer, or a combination of both. It makes inventing even easier and more fun,” the team writes.

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Built around an ATmega32U4, the latest module connects to a computer through a microUSB cable and features three Makey Makey inputs, each of which are mapped to left arrow, right arrow and space bar/mouse click — depending on how a user sets the switch. Each one of these key inputs can be controlled by littleBits modules, ranging from motion triggers to light sensors. The board itself is flanked, both top and bottom, by three magnetic panels that let it snap onto other Bits.

This offers Makers three different interactions: touch-to-Bit (trigger Bits via any conductive object), Bit-to-computer (link up with other Bits to command the cursors on a PC) and touch-to-computer (control a computer’s cursor using any object that has conductivity). Take the banana, for example. When a user touches the piece of fruit, they complete the connection and the Makey Makey Bit sends a signal to either their PC (move cursor left or right) or to their Bits (flash an LED or turn a motor).

“There’s this huge range of input and output possibilities with littleBits and a huge range of everyday objects – in fact the whole world — that you connect to with Makey Makey; and we’ve now put these together.”

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Are you ready to turn ordinary objects in touchpads? Whether that means fist bumping to turn on the lights or petting your cat to trigger tunes, head over to littleBits’ official page here to get started!

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