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Beyond Legos, Building with littleBits

Posted by Caroline Fong  December 13, 2013 12:30 PM

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What is littleBits? littleBits makes an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun.

How does it work? These tiny circuit-boards with specific functions work like LEGO™ in that kids or adults can put them together to create all sorts of fun things like robots, night lights, spinning wheels, and more -- no soldering, no wiring, and no programming required!

How do you join in the fun? littleBits is built on a community of sharing templates and plans for the creations. Members upload photos & videos of final products. You can build your own thing that lights, twists, bends, or blinks, and post your own creation template, videos, or photos!

For some of our favorites at The Grommet, here is a roundup of four creations shared in the littleBits community:

1. Light-up Celtics Sign

littlebits celtics sign.JPG

Klan and his son Zach designed the sign in TinkerCAD and 3D printed it. Then they built the light-up stand out of Legos and and littleBits.

Difficulty: Easy
Parts Used: 1 bargraph, 1 dimmer, 1 LED, 1 power, 1 RGB LED, 1 wire
Tools & Materials: Legos, MakerBot

2. Parking Garage Entrance

littlebits parking garage entrance.jpg

Hiromi created this contraption’s lights to turn from red to green, have the gate open, and the buzzer sound when a car passes over the pressure sensor.

Difficulty: Intermediate
Parts Used: 1 buzzer, 1 inverter, 1 power, 1 pressure sensor, 1 RGB LED, 1 servo
Tools & Materials: 1 cardboard, 1 plastic ball, 1 plastic cup, 1 straw, 1 wood stick

3. Lego Race Car

littlebits race car.jpg

Five-year-old Riley created a race car using Legos, pipe cleaners, and foam. He used littleBits to make the car move and race off to the finish line.

Difficulty: Easy
Parts Used: 2 dc motor, 1 fork, 1 power, 1 pulse, 2 wire
Tools & Materials: 4 foam for wheels, legos, 1 pipe cleaner

4. Stomping Shoes

littlebits stomping shoes.jpg

littleBits shares how to create a fun accessory if you’re going to a party.

Difficulty: Easy
Parts Used: 1 light wire, 1 power, 1 sound trigger
Tools & Materials: 1 screwdriver, 1 rubber band

To create any of these or other fun projects, grab either of these kits to start:

littlebits collage.jpg

littleBits Base Electronics Kit ($99.95), littleBits Deluxe Electronics Kit ($199.95) -- These fun and engaging kits let you get hands on with circuits and everyday materials. The Base Kit comes with 10 color-coded Bits modules and the Deluxe Kit comes with 18. The Bits modules snap together with magnets to create larger circuits, providing over 150,000 possible circuit combinations.

littleBits Creations Image Credit:
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Buy Differently is a sponsored blog powered by The Grommet, and part of Finds, a site you can count on to bring you the best discoveries around Boston and beyond. This blog is not written or edited by or Finds. The author is solely responsible for the content.
Caroline Fong
Caroline hails from a tiny tropical island originally, but calls Boston home. A curious bird, she spent a spring trekking all over Ireland, has been an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet, and worked at Disney World as a merchandising intern. With a love for all things interesting, she found herself at The Grommet, where she gets to eat, sleep, and breathe innovative undiscovered products. Say hello to her on Twitter.