Meet the Inventor

Diego Thuler

Meet Diego Thuler, one of our favorite makers!  Recently he and his daughter, Luisa, constructed R2D2 Bitrobot.  Watch the above video for a demonstration – it’s super impressive!

We were first wowed by Diego’s BitOlympics projects, Bit-foosball and Bit-athletics 100 meter race for Track & Field.  Since then he’s uploaded dozens of unique projects made by children in his makerspace Chapter, Little Maker at Americana/Brazil!  Here he is pictured with his wife, Denise, when they treated us with a visit to HQ:

I am based in Americana, São Paulo, Brazil

How would you describe yourself in an Ernest Hemingway-style novel? (6 words or less)
I’m an Engineer, Maker, Father and Education passionate.

What was your littleBits “a-ha!” moment? The moment you were bitten by the littleBits bug.
The story is quite long, I believe it was a process to get really captive by this bug. 🙂  As father and engineer I was always tuned in how technology could help in my kids education, but 3 facts turned my life upside-down:

  • First, a friend sent me littleBits web-site link, at time I found it very nice but yet a tech-toy to play with my kids (and expensive for Brazilian reality)
  • Two weeks later I read a news about a Finland Primary School that removed all toys and the kids should build your own toy with recycled material. I showed to a pedagogue friend and told how it should be improved with littleBits, she told me that nobody was doing that in Brazil.
  • Excited by her feedback I started to study the Maker Movement in education in US and found out many references, one of them was Mitch Resnick, so I decided I should do something here. I passed my vacancies at Orlando and bought my first set of kits. When I saw my daughter of 7 yo playing with it I understood the power of these “little bits”! That was the moment!

After that it was clear that I really should open a maker space for kids, since then I learned a lot and refine the methodology. I founded Little Maker at Americana and 2 months later at 2 more cities (Campinas and Indaiatuba).

 

When starting a littleBits project, what does your design process look like?
My engineer side is not so organized as it should be but the educator side can’t avoid to follow the methodology I apply in my classes, even into my own projects!  The process passes through these steps:

1. Ideation: design thinking, brain storming, scratches… Decide what to do and what it does.
2. Planning: choose materials, bits, make drawings, proof of concepts… Define how to do it.
3. Execution: experimentation, play, try, fail, try again, discussions, tinkering… Work hard, play hard! (Wiz Khalifa)
4. Proud: present, record, explain, share, enjoy… Consolidate all work done and be proud of it.

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How has littleBits impacted you creatively?
It’s crazy, but it’s hard to think how it was before littleBits for me. I’m using littleBits for a year now, but so intensively (about 20 hours per week) that seems to be a life!  I believe that the big change is that now I think more about what to do than how to do. With littleBits I can abstract the electronics complexity and try more, play more…

What do you plan on inventing next?
I have some projects in queue but they are always delayed by some new idea of my daughter or littleBits challenge (such as #BitWars), some of them are:

  • Garden automation: basically it irrigates automatically and measure light during the day, then it shows a number of garden happiness.
  • Pendulum clock swinger: I have a old pendulum clock that we must swing one a day, the idea is to detect when it stops and swing it again using a servo
  • I want to work in a bitlab project too but I don’t have the idea yet, maybe a soil hygrometer sensor for my garden 🙂

Diego and his friends are always up for a game of Bit-foosball:

Before you go, be sure to check out the 100m dash, a project conceived by 3 Little Maker kids, Jamyle, Luisa and João!

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