The Making of Gizmos & Gadgets

The ultimate inventor's toolbox.

October 8, 2015

OUR MISSION

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At littleBits, we are on a mission to democratize hardware by empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small, with our platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks.

For the past 4 years at littleBits, we have been growing on all levels. We’ve launched more than 70 new Bits, 13 new Kits, and grown our team to 100+ Bitsters. At the beginning of this year, we took a moment to stop and reflect. How were our products living up to our mission?

At littleBits we strongly value our customers’ opinions. We heard feedback like “there isn’t much replayability” or “I wish there were more projects you can make from the box”. You spoke & we listened. We realized that our existing kits were not living up to our mission. With Gizmos & Gadgets we were committed to delivering a new kit experience that will take users on a journey and empower them to be inventors.

 


 

THE MAKING OF A NEW KIT EXPERIENCE 

When we set out to design a new littleBits kit experience, we started by mapping out a product experience that could be both: transformative and fun.

Then we dove into creating physical prototypes to bring our Kit ideas to life — from packaging, to out of box experiences, Bit configurations, project instructions, project ideas, and more. We got into a rhythm of user testing every week. Then we would tweak our ideas based on the live feedback we got and then user test again the following week. We conducted hundreds of hours of user testing with kids and families in our office.

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Two user testers made this wireless controlled cat-mobile that was so adorable and inspirational (and slightly terrifying), we cried.

There were a lot of failed prototypes in that process that helped us figure out what types of projects, Bits, and instructions excited people and had the potential to transform their behavior. Our design shop at littleBits looked like a toy invention lab; it was filled with goofy prototypes and sketches strewn all over the walls.

 


 

THE LITTLEBITS INVENTION CYCLE

During our product development process, we user tested many different project making experiences to understand how to transform new littleBits users into inventors. What does it take for a new user to feel confident enough to invent their own littleBits project?

Through user testing, we discovered it’s a balance between step-by-step guidance and an open ended experience. We found that the sweet spot is in the idea of “remixing” projects. Every project in the Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is designed a base to be built upon, remixed, customized, or completely flipped on its head.

This is where the Invention Cycle was born.

littleBits Invention Cycle

  1. Create: Put something together. It doesn’t matter if you build it from instructions or make something from your imagination. The important thing is that you start creating something.
  2. Play: Use it! Playing with what you created is a lot of fun, but it’s also an important part of being an inventor. Playing is a kind of test run, a chance to see how well your creation works and look for ways you can make it better.
  3. Remix: Start experimenting. Try adding new bits, swapping parts with other inventions, or taking all the pieces apart and putting them together in a different way. Remixing is a great way to improve what you’ve created or discover new ways to use it.
  4. Share: Inspire others by showing the world what you’ve created. Get inspired by exploring what other people have shared. This is how the community grows and awesome new inventions enter the world.

Every project from the Gizmos & Gadgets Kit guides users through this Invention Cycle where they can learn how to make a project out of the box, are encouraged to remix it, then share it with the community. We follow the littleBits Invention Cycle in product development too. We create prototypes and concepts. Then we play with and use those prototypes to see how well they perform. Then we take those learnings and remix them into a new and improved idea. Then we share that product with the world!

 


 

MORE ABOUT GIZMOS & GADGETS

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To deep dive into what’s new & exciting in the Gizmos & Gadgets Kit, check out the following resources:

 


 

UNLEASH YOUR INNER INVENTOR

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Our hope is that the new Gizmos & Gadgets Kit sparks the imaginations of inventors-to-be everywhere. This Kit is just the first step of a lifetime of creating, playing, remixing, and sharing the inventions you can make.

From our fearless founder & CEO Ayah Bdeir,

“We believe kids are born creative; our job is to help unleash the inventor within by engaging them in an incredibly powerful, exhilarating and most importantly fun process of invention. With the littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets Kit, kids will feel incredibly proud of what they have made. The pride of inventing something is addictive, and it stays with you for life.”

 

We can’t wait to see what you invent!

Krystal Persaud

Director of Product Design