/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

Getting creative with littleBits (photos)

What can you make with a bunch of littleBits circuit boards and office supplies? A pretty cute CNET-loving robot, it turns out.

headshots_bonnie_cha_140x100.jpg
Bonnie Cha
P1020634.JPG
1 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

The beginning

littleBits is a set of circuit boards that can be snapped together to form whatever you want. Armed with two littleBits starter kits sent to Crave and some office supplies, I was ready to craft!
little-bits-8703.jpg
2 of 11 James Martin/CNET

littleBits starter kit

The littleBits starter kit comes with 11 modules, including a power source, a vibration motor, pressure sensor, and various LEDs. Each kit costs $89, and you can also buy additional modules a la carte for about $20 each.
P1020636.JPG
3 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

Boxie's long-lost cousin

Taking a little inspiration from Boxie the adorable cardboard robot from the MIT Media Lab, I decided to bring a regular 'ol shipping box to life using littleBits.
P1020638.JPG
4 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

Eyes and hands

My idea was to have the robot's eyes light up by squeezing his hand. To do that, I used the following modules: battery + connector, power, wire, pressure sensor, and two RGB LEDs. You can adjust the color of the latter by using the included mini Phillips screwdriver and adjusting a little control on the module to make it more blue, green, or red.
Note, to make a circuit, all you need is a blue (power) and green (output) part. Pink and orange are optional.
P1020639.JPG
5 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

Magnetic attraction

All the circuit boards attach to each other using magnets. It's an easy to way to connect, but I also found that they became detached easily if not placed on a flat surface.
P1020640.JPG
6 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

We have light!

Huzzah, it worked! By pressing the pressure sensor, the LEDs light up and the "eyes" are ready to be implanted into my robot.
P1020642.JPG
7 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

Surgery begins

Here's a view of the robot's innards. I attached the robot's eyes using a little tape and threaded the pressure sensor through the side, with the battery nestled at the bottom.
P1020644.JPG
8 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

High five

Here's the pressure sensor sticking out on the right side. I later covered it with brown shipping paper and gave it a claw, which you'll see in a bit.
P1020646_2.JPG
9 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

Left arm

Originally, I imagined having the robot wave with its left arm. However, there wasn't a part in the kit that would let me do that (there is a DC motor available for purchase separately, though), so I used the vibration motor instead. It just makes the arm shake a little and also produces a loud noise, but hey, you have to work with what you got, right?
P1020647_1.JPG
10 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

Brains

Here's a final look at all the circuits. The battery for the vibration motor is not attached because of the aforementioned noise.
P1020650.JPG
11 of 11 Bonnie Cha/CNET

It's aliiiiiive!

And here he is! My littleBits, CNET-loving robot. He doesn't have feet, and I'm pretty sure his right arm is longer than his left, but I still love him. Now, I just need to think of a name. CNET's Donald Bell has thrown out Ghetto Robot, but I'm taking other suggestions.

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The best games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
The new Kia Niro crossover has a lot more style

More Galleries

The new Kia Niro crossover has a lot more style

8 Photos
Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

More Galleries

Movies coming in 2021 and 2022 from Netflix, Marvel, HBO and more

67 Photos
2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

More Galleries

2021 best new TV shows to watch, stream, obsess about

65 Photos
Global 2022 Ford Ranger gets stronger styling, more infotainment tech

More Galleries

Global 2022 Ford Ranger gets stronger styling, more infotainment tech

7 Photos
The 2022 Kia Stinger 2.5T is a lovely liftback

More Galleries

The 2022 Kia Stinger 2.5T is a lovely liftback

40 Photos
The 51 best VR games

More Galleries

The 51 best VR games

53 Photos