Tag Archives: littleBits

Rewind: 27 STEM kits from 2015


These STEM toys from 2015 are helping to inspire the next generation of Makers.


STEM education has been a growing venture in schools across the country, with even the President himself making it a priority to encourage students as young as grade-school to pursue the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. After all, these fields are changing the world rapidly within the areas of innovation, economic growth and employment. But let’s face it; these subjects don’t come easy to everyone, so how do we instill STEM in kids?

With this in mind, many startups have sought out new and exciting ways to entice the younger generation to explore their creativity and develop an interest in hands-on learning. Testament to that, here are several products from 2015 looking to inspire the next generation of Makers.

littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets

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The Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is the ultimate invention toolbox, complete with motors, wheels, lights , switches, servos, buzzers and even the tools to build a remote control.

Jewelbots

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Jewelbots are programmable friendship bracelets that teach girls the basics of coding.

Thimble

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Thimble is a monthly subscription service that delivers fun electronic projects with guided tutorials and a helpful community.

Touch Board Starter Kit

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Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Starter Kit contains everything you need to transform surfaces, objects or spaces into sensors.

Makey Makey GO

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Small enough to fit on your keychain, backpack or bracelet, Makey Makey GO turns everyday objects into touchpads and combines them with the Internet. Say hello to the world’s first invention kit.

RePhone

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RePhone from Seeed Studio allows Makers to create a phone themselves in minutes and hack a new way to communicate with things.

mBot

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mBot is an all-in-one, Arduino-compatible robot that supports wireless communication and employs Scratch 2.0-like coding.

Ringo

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Ringo is a miniature digital pet robot equipped with an accelerometer, a gyrosocope, six RGB LEDs, as well as sound and communication sensors.

Wink

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Wink is an Arduino-driven robot designed to help transition students from graphical programming to more powerful written code languages. It’s also the sibling of the aforementioned Ringo.

Kano

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Kano is a computer and coding kit for all ages that’s as simple as LEGO, powered by Raspberry Pi.

Primo Cubetto

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Primo Cubetto is a smart wooden robot designed to teach kids the basics of coding away from the screen.

Petduino

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Petduino puts a DIY twist on the old-school Tamagotchi.

STEMI

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STEMI is a hexapod that can be built right at home and controlled via smartphone.

mCookie

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mCookies are quarter-sized, stackable modules from Microduino that enable young Makers to bring their LEGO projects to life.

Modulo

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Modulo is a set of tiny modular circuit boards that takes the hassle out of electronics.

The Crafty Robot

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The Crafty Robot is a paper toy unlike any other — plug it into a USB port for 30 seconds, unplug it and you’ve got a moving robot.

Kamigami

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Kamigami is an origami-style robot you can construct and program by yourself. Each one can be configured with a unique set of behaviors and characteristics through a drag-and-drop interface.

Phiro

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Phiro is a LEGO-compatible robotics toy that children can play with, code and innovate in various ways.

Quirkbot

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With Quirkbot, young Makers can devise and configure quirky robots (hence its name), blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures out of regular drinking straws.

Cannybots

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Cannybots are LEGO-compatible, smart toy cars that introduce kids to the worlds of robotics, programming and 3D printing.

3DRacers

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3DRacers is a Mario Kart-like indoor racing game that lets anyone design and 3D print their own car.

Volta Flyer

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Volta Flyer is the world’s first DIY airplane kit that is solely powered by the sun.

Roby

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Roby is a 3D-printed robotic machine that not only drives on four wheels, but can walk on two. If it falls, it can even pick itself up again with its pair of arms.

O Watch

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O Watch is a DIY smartwatch for a kid, by a kid.

LocoRobo

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LocoRobo is a cute, inexpensive robot capable of being wirelessly programmed.

KamiBot

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KamiBot is a programmable, smartphone-controlled paper robot.

Pixel Pals

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Pixel Pals are easy-to-build, fun educational kits that grow from a project to a friend you can program.

Fiat Lux

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Fiat Lux is an Arduino-compatible kit specifically designed for unique wearable projects.

AZIBOt

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AZIBOt is an open source, 3D-printed robot kit for STEM education in Africa.

Don’t try this at home: A knife-wielding tentacle


Now, who wants to take a ‘stab’ at turning this off? 


While some Makers like to think outside the box, others prefer to mount a servo-driven tentacle to a box. In what may surely be one of the most abstract (and dangerous) DIY gadgets of all-time, YouTuber “OutaSpaceMan” has developed a mechanism that flails a Swiss Army knife around in the air.

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We all know what you’re wondering, why a knife bot? According to his video description, he built the device “to amuse those who may be bored. Just right now I think the world needs a laugh.”

The aptly named littleBits Arduino Knife-Wielding Tentacle consists of an Arduino Mega (ATmega2560), a littleBits Proto Module and a servo motor, which together create a mechanical arm that randomly slashes and stabs through the air. Meanwhile, the project is running the Blink Without Delay Arduino sketch.

Okay, so now the better question: How the heck do you turn this thing off? Kids, don’t try this at home. 

The Gizmos and Gadgets Kit is the ultimate Maker’s toolbox


littleBits has launched a new kit that enables young Makers to build a wide range of new DIY projects.


Over the last four years, littleBits has transcended from just a small New York-based startup into one of the most monumental names empowering the Maker Movement. During this time, the team has launched over 70 tiny, modular Bits and 13 exciting kits, many of which powered by Atmel MCUs.

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After receiving some feedback from customers, littleBits realized that its existing kits may not have been intuitive enough for beginners, nor did it have enough components to keep young Makers interested with ‘replayability.’ Cognizant of that, they have unveiled a brand-spankin’ new Gizmos & Gadgets Kit that promises to deliver an enhanced experience that’ll enable users to bring their ideas to life in ways like never before.

This complete invention toolbox is packed with everything you could possibly need to build one of 12 interactive devices with easy, step-by-step instructions, as well as thousands of others available online and through the accompanying littleBits app. In total, the kit comes with 15 electronic building blocks including a light sensor, slide dimmers, a power module, a bargraph, electric motors, wheels, a wireless receiver and transmitter, and all the cables necessary to start making remote-controlled cars, bubble blowing machines, arcade games, and even mischief systems for spooking friends and family.

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“The pride of inventing something is addictive, and it stays with you for life,” CEO and founder Ayah Bdeir explains. “The littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets Kit provides kids, and creative people of all ages, the roadmap to invent amazing devices with an easy­to­follow guide. But the beauty of the kit is that once the training wheels come off and people feel comfortable with the tools, people can invent virtually anything they imagine.”

Building an estimated time of arrival device with littleBits


The Honest ETA device lets your housemate know when you’re likely to arrive home.


You’ve all been there: You tell your spouse that you’re on your way home, when in actuality you’ve yet to leave the office. As part of a recent collaboration between littleBits and Popular Science, one new project is looking to put an end to missed dinner dates, late arrivals and the altogether annoying habit of never being home when you said you’d be! In other words, no more “Honey, where are you?” messages.

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The aptly named Honest ETA Device was created to let a housemate — whether that’s a parent, a significant other or a college roomie — know when you are on the way home, and more importantly, likely to arrive. The cloud-connected progress meter tracks your whereabouts by reading your smartphone’s location and then displays it on a bargraph module inside the house.

Honest ETA employs a GPS-enabled mobile device, coupled with some IFTTT recipes, the cloudBit and a bargraph to show your proximity. IFTTT recipes are set up using a location channel, tasked with triggering when you enter or exit a pre-set radius.

Given that there are five LEDs on the bargraph, the littleBits team programed five radii, each with recipes related to entry and exit. This allows you to keep tabs on someone as they come and go. Upon leaving the office (or the gym, class, or wherever else you may be), your smartphone will notify the cloudBit as you start to make your way home by illuminating the LEDs on the bargraph. The LEDs will continue to light up the closer that you get.

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The project is also equipped with an MP3 player (ATmega168) and speaker, so that you can play a song of your choice when you’re only minutes away. If you happen to make it home first, however, an IFTTT SMS recipe will enable you send a text to your housemate with the press of a button, letting them know that you have indeed made it back safely.

On top of that, littleBits shares a nifty little idea to round out the design. Why not turn the circuit into an interactive wall piece that both displays your progress and holds your wallet? Using just a small hinged platform that sits directly on top of the button, the act of placing your wallet inside the case will automatically press the button, thereby sending a text message. Its creators note that you can add some acrylic edge lighting to the bargraph for nice visual effect, too.

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Sound like a project you can benefit from? Hurry over to littleBits’ official page to get started. There, you will find a detailed step-by-step breakdown to help you bring your own ETA device to life, or simply watch the video tutorial below!

Let the BitOlympic Games begin!


littleBits + Olympics = BitOlympics


While we may still be a year out from the Rio Summer Games, our friends at littleBits have launched the first-ever BitOlympics. The three-week competition encourages Makers of all levels to create extraordinary inventions, learn new skills, meet other Bitsters from around the world, and of course, go for the gold with up to $5,000 in prizes. The games kick off with a global makeathon during the weekend of July 10th.

Makers can either participate independently online, join an event in their local community or host an informal meet-up of their own. What’s more, the BitOlympics work just like the actual Games but with easy-to-use electronic modules instead.

Step 1: Choose a game to ‘bitify!’ The littleBits community has handcrafted six design challenges to help Makers get started with their project.

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Step 2: Learn new skills. Step up your Maker game and receive feedback from the DIY community on your inventions.

Step 3: Join the global makeathon on July 10th.

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Step 4: Upload your project and tag it with #BitOlympics in the header by noon (EST) on Sunday, July 26th.

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Step 5: Take home the gold! Winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges — including Ayah Bdeir, Zuradia Buter and Renaud Bedard — and announced on the community call on Wednesday, July 29th.

  • Football: Golden Shoe (Bits of your choice up to $250) 
  • Rhythmic Gymnastics: Big Air (Bits of your choice up to $250)
  • Track & Field: Iron Bit (Bits of your choice up to $250)
  • Downhill Skiing: Black Diamond (Bits of your choice up to $250)
  • Table Tennis: Topspin (Bits of your choice up to $250)
  • Choose Your Own: The Olive Wreath (Bits of your choice up to $250)
  • Most Uploaded Projects: Record Breaker (Bits of your choice up to $250)
  • Best Documentarian: The Golden Camera (Bits of your choice up to $250)
  • Grand Prize: The Grand BitOlympian (One of Everything Collection)

Ready to get started? Race over to littleBits’ official page here.  

Building a LEGO radio with littleBits and an ATtiny84


Oh Henry! Turn up the music with this littleBits project.


Give Philip Verbeek a bunch of LEGO blocks, a handful of littleBits, an MCU and a challenge, and there’s no over-the-top creation that the Maker can’t bring to life. Those of you who recall his earlier project — a pinball machine comprised of over 4,000 plastic bricks, six servos, five motors, an MP3 and Arduino — are sure to love his latest piece of work: Henry the LEGO Radio.

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Just like any conventional boombox, Verbeek is able to adjust the music’s volume, automatically scan forward and backward for stations, and manually turn the dial for new tunes. Take apart the LEGO bricks to reveal its inner workings and what you will find are a pair of synth speakers, a dimmer, a button, a few wires, a battery, a power module, as well as an ATtiny84 based Radio Bit board.

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The Radio Bit can be used as a standalone device (with a power Bit) or in combination with other littleBits modules, as seen in this project. For instance, if paired with the cloudBit, users can even trigger weather forecasts and employ the radio as an alarm in the morning. This unit boasts three buttons (scanning, next song and mute), a couple of indicator LEDs, a digital FM transmitter, a low-power audio amplifier and an audio jack with an adjustable volume, which when connected to a set of headphones, doubles as an antenna. According to Verbeek, Makers can also extend the antenna via an antenna connector. Meanwhile, built-in memory will store the last radio station before powering down.

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Intrigued? Be sure to check out his official project page here, where you can vote for his littleBits module to go into production!

This littleBits hoodie will turn you into a walking music machine


This wearable instrument will turn you into a music-making cyborg. 


When it comes to music and fashion, what’s not to love? During Maker Faire Bay Area, we had a blast jamming away to some Iggy Azalea and Jeremih beats on our pair of DrumPants. With so much excitement around the project, we couldn’t help but browse the web for some other Atmel-based, tune-emitting clothing. And just like that, we stumbled upon a recent DIY hoodie from Liza Stark, who has discovered a pretty awesome (and super easy) way to transform herself into a walking instrument as well. The Maker did so by using nothing more than a Makey Makey bit, a littleBits Synth Kit, some conductive fabric and thread, and a little of her own ingenuity.

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In order to create the digital sound interface, Stark devised switches out of conductive fabric and then placed them on different parts of a hoodie that her best friend had lying around. One side of the switch is the Makey Makey (ATmega32U4) input, the other ground. When both are touched simultaneously, it closes the switch and triggers a sound from the synth bits attached to the Makey Makey input.

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“Play around with the synth bits to determine what configuration you like best,” Stark adds. “Since there are only three outputs, you can get really creative with the connector bits, the mix bit, and speaker bit if you have extra — we’re talking super fun sound textures here.”

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The circuit is held together with gaffers tape on the front and back of the bits, while the Makey Makey module is sewn onto the hoodie using conductive thread. Meanwhile, Stark even added a few custom-designed touch pads of her own to the garment.

Intrigued? Check out the Maker’s step-by-step breakdown of the build here, and be sure to watch it in action below!