Meet the Inventor

Tom Balzamo

We’re loving Tom Balzamo’s Sidewinder project, which he made with his sons for #BitWars!  “A device to wind light rope for an imaginative belt mounted grappling hook rope to pretend you’re, uh, ‘swinging’ over a…ahem… ‘chasm’ like Luke and Leia from Star Wars.”  No, it doesn’t actually bear the weight of two kids – consider it a movie special effect!

I am based in Southeast Connecticut (Norwich).

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

A comedy of impatience marrying persistence.

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

When I saw everything I wanted to make as kid that required cannibalizing every electronic toy I owned contained in one single box of littleBits.

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

I start with my desired result/action and build backwards from that.

How has littleBits impacted you creatively?

When brainstorming/problem-solving a thing I now have more options. They’ve helped me view solutions in a “power > input > output” model.

What do you plan on inventing next? 

I’d like to try to use a sound trigger/threshold combo and IR switch/A/C switch combo in my wood-shop to turn on the dust collector automatically when loud tools turn on but there are some bugs to work out that I haven’t solved yet. You guys need to make an A/C switch in 220V 🙂 That way I could even just use an old remote and my remote bit.

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