Smarten Up Your Home With littleBits (And No Prior Knowledge)
Children in our very tech-savvy society have always been impressing their parents with their bountiful knowledge of gadgets. We’ve all shown our parents how to use “Ctrl + Alt + Delete” and how to enter the Wi-Fi password. Now, with littleBits, children of all ages (and adults, too!) can learn to design and build gadgets.
littleBits Smart Home Kit is a DIY gadget kit for your home. Users can design and build just about anything with the tools included in the kit without wiring or programming. Whether it’s a remote control pet feeder activated by your smart phone or curtains that automatically open at sunrise using the date and time setting, the Smart Home Kit fits into any household.
littleBits have been on the scene for quite some time. Founder Ayah Bdeir started the company in 2008 with the idea of bringing technology, electronics, and innovation access to everyone. The Smart Home Kit is their 9th; they already have popular kits such as the Synth Kit (for you, musicians), Arduino Coding Kit, and even a Space Kit. littleBits have won 25 awards, and counting, for their ingenious products.
Included in the Smart Home Kit are 14 modules including the new temperature sensor as well as 11 accessories (like an AC switch). These parts can be interchanged to create brand new gadgets whenever the user pleases. Each module and accessory snap together with magnets in a Lego-esque style. Some of the parts in Smart Home Kit are new, while others have been improved.
The numbers feature has been updated (perfect for the Bark Tracker) and the MP3 player adds sounds to your new electronics (like a doorbell or the infamous “You’ve got mail”). Users can invent and build their electronics and connect them to their phone. Users can control the gadgets via Internet connection (a module, cloudBit) and even receive alerts (like when you’re low on toilet paper).
The possible creations with the Smart Home Kit are endless. On the littleBits community website there are nearly 1000 projects uploaded by employees and customers. They range from The Punisher to an Ugly Sweater Hack. littleBits encourage users to submit their designs and to attempt others. littleBits don’t encourage users to replace their existing electronics but to refit them to use new technology.
As Kyle Vanhemert of Wired explains, littleBits doesn’t limit the user like may smart home kits; they want users to “feel out this territory themselves.” The user’s solutions will be catered to what they want based on what they have at home.
Andrew Del-Colle of Popular Mechanics makes note that littleBits think the consumer shouldn’t have to buy different gadgets for every solution; they should be able to buy one product and create everything they need rather than one product for each solution. Although, some consumers may not be into that.
littleBits have highlighted a few projects that solve every day problems with a little creativity. One of the coolest is the Smart Fridge. Developed by the VP of Design, Smart Fridge alerts you when the refrigerator door has been left open. It uses the temperature sensor to notice a change of a set amount of degrees.
The Smart Home Kit, along with the others available, is designed for anyone over 14 years. It’s available direct from littleBits (or Amazon in the UK) on pre-order for $249. If you can’t decide which kit is best, you can do One of Everything for $1,499. littleBits are keen to get the kits in the hands of children to promote learning. Educators can enjoy a 15% discount. The Smart Home Kit will begin shipping in early December.