Tereza Nemessanyi and I connected this past fall during a workshop I was hosting at TEDYouth 2015 and we’ve been working in touch non-stop since on a number of projects, including a workshop at the Microsoft Flagship Store to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. I wanted to hear more about how her daughters have been using littleBits to make their projects.
We are based in Pound Ridge, NY. We live in the woods.
How would you describe yourselves in an Ernest Hemingway-style novel? (6 words or less)
Life is better when weird.
What was your littleBits “a-ha!” moment? The moment you were bitten by the littleBits bug.
It happened when we were visiting the pop-up store in Soho. Margot & Marta already had experience with littleBits, so they walked in with basic fluency on how they work. What they hadn’t done was connect them to arts + crafts materials. With a few sample projects, and then lots of crafts around, they lit up.
Margot is very musical. She’s been studying classical piano since she was young, but has been interested in moving over to rock music. The synth guitar grabbed her. Ever since she built her own, she’s been playing the Star Wars theme and “We wish you a merry Christmas”. She is building out her synth repertoire as we speak – and asked me to put in a request for more octaves, please.
Marta is a ham and gets fired up by pranks and cool tricks. At the pop-up shop, she was able to work her way independently through the car construction – really building her confidence. When we went home with the Gizmos and Gadgets kit, she took it to another level by figuring out how to run it on remote control. She was so proud!
When starting a littleBits project, what does your design and video process look like?
We have no process whatsoever. Margot & Marta dive right in.
I see it really take flight when they mash up the Bits with the other stuff around them. For example, Marta is a huge American Girl fan. When we were invited to a New Year’s party with a talent show, they took the “fortune teller” project, combined it with an empty box and an American Girl doll with a turban, and that became an act: “Ask Baby New Year”. Guests could ask any question, and Baby New Year would give her prediction. Their invention won a prize!
How has littleBits impacted you creatively?
Given that they’re so theatrical, I think littleBits serves as a material to power that instinct. And then crank it up to 11.
What do you plan on inventing next?
Right now it’s all about rigging bedroom doors to prevent interlopers, and buzzer doorbells. Oh and extending the synth guitar a few more octaves and for multiple notes at a time. Basically, a littleBits accordion.