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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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Here's a final look at all the circuits. The battery for the vibration motor is not attached because of the aforementioned noise.
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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.