Wednesday, May 09, 2012

A "littleBit" of Tinkering for a New Generation

As a 10 year old kid I developed an intense interest in understanding how radios worked. I wasn't nearly as interested in the invisible electromagnetic waves passing through me as I was with how all these obscure electronic components manifested themselves in music blasting my ears. That curiosity inevitably led me to deconstructing a number of AM/FM radios, reducing them to a series of components sitting in a pile on my bedroom floor. My coup de grace was taking a milk crate, mounting an old car radio, 6 volt flashlight battery and oversized speakers to create a predecessor to the ghetto-blaster. It was a true work of art!

So when I first caught a glimpse of a new line of "toys" called littleBits, it immediately brought me back to my radio tinkering as a child. But it also brought with it the realization of why littleBits is such a revolutionary product.

littleBits is described as an open-source library of electronic modules that snap together with tiny magnets for prototyping and play. littleBits consists of tiny circuit-boards with simple, unique functions engineered to intuitively snap together with magnets. No soldering, no wiring, no programming, just snap and play. Within seconds of pulling littleBits out of the box, a child can immediately begin grasping the basics of how modern electronics work.

That's the surprising aspect of littleBits. While it's packaged as a toy, it's made up of REAL electronics that can be configured to perform REAL complex functionality.

It's estimated that the average American spends more than 7.5 hours on technological devices every day, yet most of us have no clue how they work. So where does future innovation come from? It comes from the tinkerers, the problem-solvers, the do-it-yourselfers. But rather than you sacrificing your cell phone at the hands of your tinkering 10 year old, introduce them to littleBits and watch their creativity bloom!

Light it, push it, turn it, twist it, bend it, buzz it, blink it, shake it...
Just as LEGOs™ allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, electronic building blocks that make prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits hopes to move the incorporation of electronics from late stages of the design process to its earliest stages. And more importantly, take them from the hands of experts, to those of artists, makers, students and designers.

While littleBits has received tremendous press from all over the world, it's not very widely available for purchase. That's why I'm proud to say that you can already find it at! We have two kits available, the "Teaser Kit" and the "Starter Kit", or you can mix & match by purchasing components a la carte. 

Make no mistake, it's a brave new world and littleBits will be leading the revolution for a new generation of tinkerers!

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