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!
Photo by: Bonnie Cha/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.
Photo by: James Martin/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.
Photo by: 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.
Photo by: 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.
Photo by: 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.
Photo by: 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.
Photo by: 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.
Photo by: 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?
Photo by: Bonnie Cha/CNET


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


Want to see the future of car technology?

Brian Cooley found it for you at CES 2017 in Las Vegas and the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Hot Products