Tag Archives: littleBits Arduino Module

Control your Philips Hue lighting with this DIY device

With just a ‘littleBit’ of tinkering, you can set the mood in real-time.

In recent weeks, we’ve had some fun tinkering around with the latest kits from our friends at littleBits. As seen inside our CES 2015 booth, these itsy bitsy modules are enabling Makers to hack their own smart homes with ease, ranging from automated coffee makers to alarm clocks. Case in point: Maker Jeremy Blum’s latest project leverages the ATmega32U4 based Arduino module, along with a small Linux board and Philips Hue hub, to control the state, brightness and color of connected lightbulbs in real-time via a tactile interface.


“The system architecture of the littleBits Hue Lighting Controller is pretty simple, but I put a lot of thought into making the system robust, fast, and easy-to-setup. I’ve actually been using this controller daily for the last several months, but I completely rewrote most of the code in preparation for sharing it here – most notably, I built an automated setup routine, added serial device auto-connect logic, and made the system more robust against hardware state changes,” Blum writes.


The system is comprised of three components: the control pad, the Linux machine and the Philips Hue network. In addition, Makers looking to enhance their design are encouraged to 3D print the dials, buttons and enclosures. When a Maker presses buttons or turns the dial on the wall controller, it sends serial commands to a script running on the Linux device. The desired action is interpreted and relayed to the Hue hub over the local network in real-time.

“When you’re setting up the system, you’ll use a automatic setup mode that I’ve included in the Python software. The script handles configuring the Linux machine to automatically launch the listening service on boot, creates the secure connection with the Hue hub, and allows you to select which lights on your Hue network you’d like to control with the control pad. The Python script also automatically identifies the right serial device and will automatically handle reconnecting the serial interface on USB disconnection events.”


As Blum notes, you don’t have to be an advanced engineer or know anything about configuring Linux serial devices, for that matter, to implement the software – it’s entirely automatic. In fact, it will even work on systems that have multiple USB serial devices attached, such as multiple Arduino Leonardo boards.

Are you ready to control the smart bulbs throughout your home with a DIY controller? If so, you can access an entire step-by-step breakdown of the build here.

Playing the littleBits Waving Piano

This is what you get when you add a whammy bar to a piano.

Created by Maker Gonçalo Silva, the littleBits Waving Piano is an ATmega32U4 based keyboard that was programmed to behave as an oscillator.


How it works is relatively simple: As keys are pressed on the board, they are read by the Arduino module and mapped to the corresponding pitch, as you would hear on a real piano. Meanwhile, the slide is used to “wave” the output pitch just like a guitar’s whammy bar.


Ready to make your own musical piece? Get started by heading over to littleBits’ project page for a step-by-step breakdown. In the meantime, watch it in action below!


Get notified each time you’re tagged on Instagram — through scent

Created by Instructables Design Studio artist Paige Russell, the Scent-imental Notification System releases a predefined scent whenever you’re tagged by a friend on Instagram.


The project utilizes an ATmega32U4 based Arduino module, a littleBits cloudBit, IFTTT, a few custom hashtags, and of course, scented oils. The housing for the unit is comprised of laser-cut plywood.

v02 Arduino

How it works is relatively simple. Using the littleBits cloudBit and IFTTT, as its name implies, the system notifies a user whenever a picture of them is posted on Instagram. The device is equipped with scents that are triggered by three different hashtags, which for Russell were #pupsforpaige, #cheekynature, and #snickersnort.


Each tag activates a designated servo — controlled by the ATmega32U4 module — that release a drop of oil onto a heated glass surface. The scent is then diffused up into the air and fanned towards the user by a servo fan behind the glass. The Arduino determines which servo to activate by reading an incoming voltage from the cloudBit.

Watch in action below! Interested in devising a notification system of your own? You can find a step-by-step breakdown of the build on its official Instructables page, as well as read littleBits’ featured write-up here.