LittleBits adds Arduino module, instant backorders result
Last year, my daughter and I had the opportunity to try out Littlebits – magnetic circuits that make it easy for kids to create a variety of simple projects – for a few weeks. She's been talking about it ever since. Now the company is offering a new Arduino module that allows kids to not just make cool circuits, but to program them too.
The Littlebits crew manned one of the busiest booths at this month's Bay Area Maker Faire, with parents and kids all crowded around the few terminals and monitors that were each connected up to an Arduino module. The enthusiasm has apparently carried over to the company's business – the Littlebits "Arduino Starter Bundle" is currently back-ordered and the company is asking customers to allow an extra 2-3 weeks for orders that include the programmable bundle.
Littlebits gives young hackers a functioning Arduino programming environment, but without having to fuss with any soldering, wiring or breadboarding. Among the basic projects that come with the kit is a digital Etch-a-sketch tutorial that takes inputs from other LittleBits modules and translates them into images on your connected computer. Other nifty projects include analog Pong and some fun sound tweaks including an 8-bit jukebox.
The Arduino bundle retails for US$89 and comes with many of the modules and accessories that are found in the other LittleBits kits like a servo, two dimmers, button input, and of course, the Arduino itself.
Check out the video below to get a sense of what LittleBits combined with Arduino could be capable of.
About the Author
Eric Mack has been covering technology and the world since the late 1990s. As well as being a Gizmag regular, he currently contributes to CNET, NPR and other outlets.
All articles by Eric Mack
Oh, if only they had had these when I was a child. Any parent whose child is in any way logical should, if they can possibly afford to, obtain at least one of these kits for them. It will open doors of opportunity that just might make all the difference to their whole future.
If they don't already exist, there needs to be a kit for making LittleBits from basic electronics so that there is a developmental bridge between toy and electronics as a skill that will enable the inclusion of all electronics components (transistors, op-amps, etc.)
There also needs to be a web page with loads of problems that can be solved with an Arduino, together with possible solutions using LittleBits and basic electronic components on their own - with a parental key to stop cheating? They can then leave the LittleBits parts for their younger siblings, perhaps, as they move into electronics as a hobby (at least).
The next stage has to be a Raspberry (or equivalent) version that develops childrens computing skills once they have got the Arduino bug and need to go further than that device is capable of.
I'd better stop there! The potential seems endless (and exciting).
I agree with Mel, the possibillities seem endless, limited only by ones imagination.
I think that is cool.
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