Meet the Inventor

Claire O’Brien


We can’t get over how realistic Claire O’Brien’s first project is: Princess Leia Zoetrope, which she made for the Bit Wars challenge. Check out the video above to see it yourself!

This is Claire’s first project and we were curious to know how she became an expert so quickly.

I am based in the North East of England and tinker at home in a little box room office/studio.

How would you describe yourself in an Ernest Hemingway-style novel? (6 words or less)

Full-time Mother, creates when can.

What was your littleBits “a-ha!” moment?  The moment you were bitten by the littleBits bug. 

I’ve come to littleBits via LEGO, I was sorting and tidying my young boys’ LEGO pieces for them and suddenly thought ‘I want to build too’ so I started to.  My partner then stumbled across littleBits online and we saw how amazing and LEGO-like they are and promptly bought the Deluxe Kit to try out.  At first I just followed the included tutorials, then I saw the announcement for the #BitWars challenge and it sparked an idea.  Ever since seeing Pixar’s 3D zoetrope, I’ve always wanted to make one, so I thought I’d try to for the challenge.   And to my surprise my 2D Princess Leia zoetrope, made out of a polystyrene pizza base, was one of the challenge winners, my first original invention too!



When starting a littleBits project, what does your design process look like?

I start a project by plugging things in and out, to get the electrics working. It’s so fast it, you know immediately if you are on the right track. In the case of my zoetrope I worked on the LEGO gears second, getting the speed as fast as I could so I could control it with the Dimmer Bit. I then work on the everyday attachments, in my zoetrope this was the animation drawings on the pizza base.

My video process is to make a list of what I want to show then film the footage as best as I can on my digital still camera (not even a DSLR, I need to upgrade) or iPhone, preferably with a tripod. I edit and add titles, transitions and music in iMovie and use Blender if I want to composite any green screen stuff. I then upload to YouTube with a custom thumbnail and use as many relevant keywords as I can.

How has littleBits impacted you creatively?

I’m mainly a traditional, ‘drawing on paper’ artist but discovering littleBits has had a big impact on me in approaching creating. I never expected to actually want to or enjoy making real world ‘things’ but thanks to littleBits I do now.  I’ve embraced the Maker movement, I also now go along to my local FabLab and use their laser cutter and 3D printer and I will be inventing more things using littleBits in the future.

Birthday Boy

What do you plan on inventing next? 

My boys enjoy dressing up for Comicons and things like that so I may make some wearable tech to level up their costumes, that is, when I learn how to sew.  I’d like to get my boys inventing with littleBits too, encouraging making rather than consuming and perhaps run an after school club for other children too. I also want to try coding so I’ll see what I can do with the Arduino kit and Scratch soon. And I still want to make a 3D zoetrope, so watch this space.

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