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littleBits http://wp.littlebits.cc <em>littleBits</em> is an opensource library of electronic modules that snap together with magnets for <em>prototyping</em>, <em>learning</em> and <em>fun</em>. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:33:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 Let’s Get Logical /lets-get-logical /lets-get-logical#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:49:09 +0000 /?p=18858 unnamed

With littleBits logic modules, you can program in block form. The logic modules create rules for your circuit to follow, giving you more ability to create interesting and complex interactions. With the launch of three new logic modules (NAND, NOR, and XOR) in addition to the double AND, double OR, latch, and inverter, we have rounded out our logic collection. In this post, we are excited to share new projects and lessons that cover all things logic! New to logic, fear not! Once you learn a few basic rules, a whole new world of circuits opens up. Learn how to make a Jeopardy-style lockout buzzer, an electronic combination lock, a 21st century fortune-telling device, and more!

For a full introductory lesson about logic, check out our lessons page, or download this PDF.

Taking the fast track or want to skip to a specific module? Check out the links below:

DOUBLE AND

The double AND module is a good option for projects in which you want two actions to trigger another.

double AND project page

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Projects that use the double AND module:

Morning Sunshine: a conditional alarm that requires both sun AND your head on a pillow.

World Lift: a collaborative game that uses a double AND, two pressure sensors, and a fan.

Smart Paper Towel Dispenser: hack a paper towel dispenser to feed you a towel as you finish washing your hands.

Great Uncle Edward: create a creepy interactive portrait with eyes that follow you around the room.

 

DOUBLE OR

The double OR module is a good option for projects where you want to detect two inputs but don’t care which input is activated.

double OR project page

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Projects that use the double OR module:

Magic 8 Machine: a 21st century fortune telling device based on luck and logic.

littleBits Lucky Slot Machine: a working slot machine that uses logic to start and stop spinning icons.

 

NAND

The NAND works well in projects that need an output to go OFF when both inputs are triggered.

NAND project page

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Projects that use the NAND module:

Lockout Buzzer: a gameshow style buzzer that locks out the other player.

 

NOR

The NOR gate is good for projects in which you want the output to be ON unless one or both of its inputs are triggered.

NOR project page

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Projects that use the NOR module:

Magic 8 Machine: a 21st century fortune telling device based on luck and logic.

XOR

The XOR is great for projects in which the activation requires input alternation.

XOR project page

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Projects that use the XOR module:

Programmable Safe: create a personalized electronic combination lock box.

Ring Modulation: boost your synth circuit with an XOR to create wobbly and metallic video game sounds.

INVERTER (NOT)

Inverters can be used in combination with logic gates to change how the logic works. If you place the inverter after the output of a gate, it will change the logic completely. If you place the inverter before one input, it changes the logic going into the gate from that input.

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Educator Spotlight: Marcus Duvoisin, Digital Media Academy /educator-spotlight-marcus-duvoisin-digital-media-academy /educator-spotlight-marcus-duvoisin-digital-media-academy#comments Mon, 14 Apr 2014 02:50:34 +0000 /?p=18860 marcus
Our educator spotlight this week shines on Marcus Duvoisin, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Digital Media Academy. The Digital Media Academy (DMA) is a world class tech camp that gives its students the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of digital media topics. From photography to filmmaking, programming to robotics, DMA’s #1 priority is the growth of the student as a maker, creator, innovator, and person who is fully equipped to handle any challenge that may come as our world adapts and changes to new technology. Read more about Marcus’s passion for education and new found love for littleBits below.

Tell us about your current teaching experience.

I’ve taught courses at DMA’s Stanford University location for the last six camp seasons, and can proudly say that, “Summer camp is my middle name.” I have a genuine passion for the education and character development of children. As Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instruction, I make sure that DMA’s Adventures program courses are staffed with remarkable teachers and designed to have a positive impact on our students. I also helped develop the Engineering and Rocket Science course which features littleBits projects!

How did you discover littleBits? What drew you to our product/company?

We were looking for a fun way to introduce electrical engineering to kids, and littleBits knocked it out of the park!

How do you use littleBits as a 21st century STEM/STEAM teaching and learning tool?

Letting them to get their hands dirty first by building, and then pulling the curtain back and showing them the logic behind how the circuits work.

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What is your favorite littleBits project?

The World Lift Game, which uses 2 pressure sensors to stabilize a ball between two height constraints, is a great project because the end result has kids interacting with what they just built.

Describe littleBits in your own 3 words:

Unleashing Engineering Freedom!

If you could challenge your students to make anything with any amount of littleBits, what would you have them create?

Their own inventors workshop/classroom.

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What advice can you offer teachers who are new to littleBits?

Make sure to reveal the why! Build, build, build! And then take it apart and understand why it functions.

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How can we find out more about the Digital Media Academy and the Adventures in Engineering and Rocket Science Camp Program?

Visit DMA to find out the latest information on our course offerings and locations.
The Adventures in Engineering and Rocket Science camp is a 1 week program for campers ages 8-12. It is hosted throughout the summer at 10 college campuses including Harvard, Stanford, UMichigan and McGill. Using both computer programs and hands-on experiments, children learn about a wide range of STEM subjects, including electrical engineering, structural design and space flight. You can see the full course overview here. At the end of each day, students reflect on what they know and what they would like to learn as a way to close out the day and look forward to tomorrow. By Thursday, campers build a challenge to address the engineering topics they have covered. At the end of the course, campers can chose a focal subject to complete a “super challenge” and present their work. It’s a fun week filled with lots of learning!
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Thanks Marcus for sharing, we can’t wait to see how the summer adventure program goes!  Signs up are still available, but filling up fast. Visit DMA to register now.

]]> /educator-spotlight-marcus-duvoisin-digital-media-academy/feed 0 Summer Camp Programming: From Robotics to Rocket Science /summer-camp-programming /summer-camp-programming#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:48:27 +0000 /?p=18762 explorer light

Summer is just around the corner. Are you looking for engaging ways to “electrify” your summer camp programming? Look no further, the littleBits community has examples of successful programs run at camps and after school programs over the past year. These sessions have been delivered to a variety of age ranges and skill levels — there’s something for everyone, whether you prefer open exploration or a more structured robotics or engineering program. Check out the sampling of programs below for guidance and inspiration on how other organizations around the world have harnessed the power of the Bits modules.

Engineering – Fundamentals of Electronics

Steven Wade from the William Penn Charter School in Pennsylvania began exploring littleBits with his campers ages 8-12, who needed very little hand holding to get started. They quickly moved from understanding inputs and outputs, to adding materials to the electronics and then trying a few projects; some kids “could have stayed and played all week.” Steven has since moved his littleBits exploration into the classroom and his third grade students came up with some pretty amazing projects. Check out his lesson page for a great sampling of his classroom’s inventions.

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Engineering – Rocket Science Program

The Digital Media Academy is a world class tech camp that gives its students the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of digital media topics.  Using both computer programs and hands-on experiments, the newly designed Adventures in Engineering and Rocket Science course is a perfect introduction to a wide range of STEM subjects, including electrical engineering, structural design and space flight. For a full overview of the program, check out the schedule for this action packed week.  This one week program is ideal for campers ages 8-12 and is hosted throughout the summer at 10 college campuses including Harvard, Stanford, UMichigan and McGill. You can read more about the program in our educator spotlight.

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Robotics – Smart House and “Hack my Toy”

Fora Radionice in Croatia is taking their robotics classes to the next level with littleBits. Their favorite electronic project so far is the smart house, complete with a motion-triggered fan, garage door opener and automatic interior lights. They’ve also conducted ‘Hack my Toy’ summer workshops to add lights, sound and motors to their camper’s old toys.

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Prototyping – Sustainability

Sean Murray from the Society for Useful Art in California used littleBits to prototype several projects, including a 50 watt solar panel cell phone charger – how cool! His campers were ages 10-15 and Sean reports that the participants felt comfortable trying new combinations and didn’t worry about making mistakes. 

Social and Career Awareness – Electronics and Your Future

Jace Meyer’s educator spotlight details her curriculum development using littleBits, which is designed to be “hands-on, play based, and relevant to the local context and cultures of the communities we engage. Much of the emphasis is also placed on career awareness so that youth are inspired to achieve their potential and fulfill their critical role in the world.” This Canadian camp, Actua, is a great example of locally relevant STEM programming at work.

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Open-ended Exploration – Multi-material Construction

Nancy Persing considers herself an “anti-instruction person,” which we love for fostering curiosity in campers. Her 4-H group from Michigan dove right into exploring the littleBits modules and starting adding other construction materials, like JawBones, LEGO® and Roominate. She also hosted a ‘Tech Excite’ class where the students created a robotic arm. Future bio-engineers in training!

Programming for Children with Intellectual Disabilities

Have you thought about comparing electricity to the water that flows through your pipes? That’s how Brendan White from St. Angela’s College in Ireland introduced littleBits in his summer workshops for children with Intellectual Disabilities. His students love the lights and sounds modules and how easily they can relate the electronics to circuits in the world around us, like cell phones and traffic lights. You can read more about Brendan’s work with disabilities programs in this feature blog post.

Guillermo using littleBits to trigger a smellbox developed by sensory objects, the box contained lavender blown by a fan triggered by littleBits

Music – Physics of Sound

Are you running a music program or camp? Be one of the first to build a program with our Synth Kit; the easiest to use, most powerful modular synthesizer in all the land! You can teach the physics of music, run electronic music workshops, record music or build your own camp orchestra with several Kits. All littleBits modules are compatible, so you can easily add lights and motion from the Exploration Kits to your Synth circuits to create an interactive music installation. Suggested age range: 10 – 17.

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Consult with our Team

We’re happy to consult with you on how to run similar programs or tailor your own littleBits Summer Adventure. Simply send an email to Tara, our Education Account Manager, at education@littlebits.cc to schedule a time to discuss your ideas in more detail.

Helpful Hints

You can also find all our tips and tricks on our blog and user-submitted projects on our community page. As an added bonus, we offer 15% off educator discounts for summer camps!

Keep us posted on the awesome littleBits camp sessions you create and projects your campers come up with. This summer is about to get ELECTRIC!

 

 

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Lifehacker: I’m Ayah Bdeir, CEO of littleBits, and This is How I Work /lifehacker-im-ayah-bdeir-ceo-of-littlebits-and-this-is-how-i-work /lifehacker-im-ayah-bdeir-ceo-of-littlebits-and-this-is-how-i-work#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 20:19:07 +0000 /?p=18810 Ayah is the latest person featured in Lifehacker’s “How I Work” series.

 

Working with electronics can be intimidating for people like me—I don’t know a soldering iron from a glue gun, and I definitely don’t know how to read a circuit diagram. Luckily, there’s littleBits. littleBits are open source electronic modules that snap together like toys, making the learning process fun and easy for anyone. And behind littleBits is Ayah Bdeir. Ayah is an engineer, artist, and alumna of the MIT Media Lab who founded the company to make electronics accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. We asked Ayah to share some of her tips on how she’s managing her budding electronic empire.

 

For the scoop on her favorite reading material, gadgets and to-do list habits, check out the full interview here.

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Educator Spotlight: Jace Meyer /educator-spotlight-jace-meyer /educator-spotlight-jace-meyer#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 15:37:48 +0000 /?p=18779 jace

Summer camps and littleBits go together like Batman and Robin. This week we feature Jace Meyer, who is the Manager of Outreach and Training at Actua. Read more about how this STEM enthusiast is elevating her educational programs to the next level with the help of some littleBits modules.

Tell us about your current teaching experience.

My name is Jace Meyer and I am the Manager of Outreach and Training for a Canadian Not-For-Profit organization called Actua. Actua provides life-changing experiences in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) through fun, hands-on workshops, clubs, and summer camps. Each year we reach over 225, 000 youth in 500 communities through two delivery mechanisms: our network of 33 members located at post secondary institutions across the country and our Outreach Team that delivers programming in communities not yet served by our members. In my role, I am responsible for developing the curriculum for the summer camp experience our Outreach Team offers to rural, remote, and Aboriginal communities. The curriculum is designed to be hands-on, play based, and relevant to the local context and cultures of the communities we engage. Much of the emphasis is also placed on career awareness so that youth are inspired to achieve their potential and fulfill their critical role in the world.

 How did you discover littleBits? What drew you to our product/company?

I first found littleBits on twitter (my favorite place for curriculum inspiration). I was immediately drawn to the snap and build approach that makes learning how to build circuits so easy especially for small fingers and those still building their fine motor skills. The aesthetics of littleBits is my favorite – the color choice, use of graphics, and overall feel help reinforce how approachable, simple, and fun this can be as a tool to teach about electricity, circuits, and STEM in general.

 How do you use littleBits as a 21st century STEM/STEAM teaching and learning tool?

The camp Actua is designing this year is a Mining and related careers themed camp. Youth in these camps will design and prototype safety gear that could be used by miners in their community. The youth will have the opportunity to present their safety innovation ideas to people working in the mining sector in order to get feedback on their littleBits design and help reinforce how technology can help keep us safe.

In previous camp years, youth designed their own robots that could help them complete a task that matters to them. A great sample was the “Himom-bot” a robot designed by one camper to send sweet little messages to her mom.  

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What is your favorite littleBits project?

I’m not sure it’s possible to have a favorite given the endless possibilities this tool allows for. What I love most is that youth can design and build anything.

Describe littleBits in your own 3 words:

Fun. Easy. Effective. 

If you could challenge your students to make anything with any amount of littleBits, what would you have them create?

It would be fantastic if they could create a color-sorting robot so we can easily sort all of our pieces after all of our projects (just think: littleBits, LEGO, NXT robots, crayons)!

What advice can you offer teachers who are new to littleBits?

Dig in! The best part about littleBits is how accessible they are – even for the first time user. If you prefer to learn by doing than you’re going to love them, and if you prefer to learn by reading, or sharing with others than the online educator community is the perfect place to share, learn, and do with others.

Where can we find out more information about your organization?

Actua and its 33 members offer programming in every province and territory across Canada. For more information about Actua and where to find an Actua program you can visit: www.actua.ca

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The Daily Beast: Four Young Female Inventors and Innovators Make Disruptive Technology Sound Fun /the-daily-beast-four-young-female-inventors-and-innovators-make-disruptive-technology-sound-fun /the-daily-beast-four-young-female-inventors-and-innovators-make-disruptive-technology-sound-fun#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 19:16:33 +0000 /?p=18757 This past Friday, Ayah appeared on a panel titled ” Women Design the Future” during the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center. The panel featured Ayah and three other women speaking about their inventions and the future of technology. Watch Ayah speak about the littleBits mission in the video below and read about the entire panel at The Daily Beast.

 

With all the time the public will save no longer having to chase down outlets, we can put our collective energy into understanding, re-discovering, and reinventing electronics. That is thanks to littleBits creator Ayah Bdeir who realized that consumers have for too long been buying electronics without knowing how they work. After studying computer engineering in Beirut, she discovered a new way of looking at technology at the MIT Media Lab and created innovative electronic bricks that snap together with magnets. She started her company in 2011 in shared space in New York City’s West Village, and today she sells to 700 countries, 1,800 schools, and has 50 different bits that can create trillions of circuits and objects without wiring or soddering. Think GoldieBlox times thousands.

 

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Education: DC STEM Fair /education-dc-stem-fair /education-dc-stem-fair#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:03:41 +0000 /?p=18728 We are gearing up for an action packed weekend at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC on April 26-27. Mark your calendars…we promise the littleBits booth is going to be out of this world!

To build the excitement, this week we recap the DC STEM Fair that was held on March 22nd in DC at the H.D. Woodson High School. This Fair is a long-­standing tradition and signature event for DC’s public, charter, parochial, private, and home‐schooled students in grades 6 – 12. Students showcase their research skills and compete for a variety of awards and prizes.  The DC STEM Fair was organized by the Three Birds Foundation, which develops renewable energy initiatives that engage and inspire students, creating a culture of curiosity and environmental stewardship.

About 300 students participated in the science fair and 26 organizations exhibited in the expo.  Many of the exhibitors were existing littleBits enthusiasts, including STEMTot Academy, an organization that strives to spark the creativity and ingenuity in children during early childhood and Kidwindwhich uses littleBits modules for building wind powered projects. Other exhibitors included the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Explainers, the DC Robotics Group, 4-H and Center for Youth Development, the Boy Scouts of America and DC Current.

Glenn Mossy staffed the littleBits booth and was excited to speak to many teachers who were looking for STEM education tools and interested to learn how littleBits can be used in lessons and after school programs. Check out some of the pictures he took during the event:

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Lots of budding engineers, scientists and musicians in the crowd! To see more pictures from the Keynote by DC Mayor Vincent Gray, Science Fair Projects and the Expo, check out the event’s Facebook page.

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GOOD Magazine: The Good 100 /good-magazine-the-good-100 /good-magazine-the-good-100#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:19:03 +0000 /?p=18722 GOOD Magazine has published the 2014 Good 100, a collection of people they feel “capture what it means to be a global citizen in 2014.” Ayah is included on the list as an “Open Hardware Champion.” Read why here.

 

“Bdeir is one of the leaders of the open hardware movement, attempting to spread the power of electronics around the world to people of any education level or social status.”

 

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Slice of MIT: Maker-Culture Stars: PopMech Taps Seven MIT Innovators /slice-of-mit-maker-culture-stars-popmech-taps-seven-mit-innovators /slice-of-mit-maker-culture-stars-popmech-taps-seven-mit-innovators#comments Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:08:09 +0000 /?p=18717 Slice of MIT – News and Views for the MIT community – noticed the wealth of MIT alums in the recent Popular Mechanics feature “25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream” including littleBits’ Ayah Bdeir. For insight into how MIT helped each of them become the Makers they are today, check out the full piece here.

 

“And most importantly, that any individual could ‘re-invent’ technology and its impact on the world. These ideas are instrumental to being a maker.”

 

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The Epoch Times: Children’s Museum of Manhattan Opens STEAM Lab /the-epoch-times-childrens-museum-of-manhattan-opens-steam-lab /the-epoch-times-childrens-museum-of-manhattan-opens-steam-lab#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 18:39:24 +0000 /?p=18697 The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is opening a STEAM Lab – complete with littleBits! The lab will be open from March 29 to May 11. Read more details in the Epoch Times here.

 

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