littleBits Electronics Delux Kit
Steve Ford had a little bit about littleBits™ in his "Eclectic Technology" column in the April issue of QST, and it looked interesting enough to mention here. "What is littleBits? littleBits makes an opensource library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun. The winner of countless awards from Popular Science, Crain's , Maker Faire and more. littleBits consists of tiny circuit-boards with specific functions engineered to snap together with magnets. No soldering, no wiring, no programming, just snap together for prototyping, learning and fun. Each bit has a specific function (light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, motors, etc), and modules snap to make larger circuits. Just as LEGO allows you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are small, simple, intuitive, blocks that make creating with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. littleBits are mistake-proof and every module & kit we make can work with any other module & kit allowing you to grow your library of littleBits and create even more possibilities."
Their BitLab feature provides a means for designers to have their work immortalized as a commercially available product that will be sold to other littleBitsHeads who review your proposal. If you get 1,000 votes, "an elite littleBits squad" considers whether it is worth further investigation. Thereafter, you collect a royalty on every module sold. You probably won't get rich on the deal, but it wouldn't hurt anything as a resume (aka CV) bullet point.
The link to the left takes you to an Amazon.com page where you can buy the Delux kit at an introductory discount price ($184 right now). Lesser-equipped kits are available at a lower cost, as are dozens of individual littleBits™ functional modules. An oscillator, a light sensor, a bend sensor, a light dimmer, a threshold detector, a wireless transmitter, a wireless receiver, a USB interface, a servo, a DC motor, and Arduino coding kit, and a numerical display are among available functions. If you need to build your own prototype circuit that snaps in like the others, there's even a perf board module. "The library has over 60 modules and growing. Every module works with every other in millions of combinations, you'll never run out of things to make. Grow your library and expand your creative possibilities."
littleBits™ would make a great gift for your kids to get them interested in, or foster an even deeper interest in an already motivated kid.
Posted on April 16, 2015