Promotional image, looks like a lot of fun (via littleBits.com)
Anyone who’s into DIY projects while maintaining some semblance of your inner child may want to take a look at littleBits open-source electronic modules. The LEGO-Esq. modules are a series of different electronic circuit boards that perform a basic function which can be combined (using magnets) to create just about any do-it-yourself project with extreme ease. Each piece serves a different function including some consisting of LEDs, tiny speakers, sensors, buttons, miniature motors and power connections that require no soldering or advanced engineering skills to use. Each end of the various pieces not only houses a magnet, that can only connect in one direction (preventing you from destroying them through reverse current) but is also color coded to denote what its function is. littleBits were created by MIT Media Lab postgraduate Ayah Bdeir as a way to incite creativity and encourage future engineers (children and adults alike) to become problem solvers and reduce the barrier between the ‘products we consume and the things we make’. The company released their latest version (v0.3) only a few short months ago, which added several new pieces over the previous versions as well as increased stability using beveled end-pieces, and has been making headlines since their appearance at the NYC Toy Fair held on February 16-19. LittleBits currently has 4 kits (and individual pieces) available for purchase including the entry-level teaser kit with 3 pieces ($29 US), the holiday kit with 7 pieces ($49 US), the starter kit with 10 pieces ($89 US) and the extended kit with 14 pieces ($149 US). Each kit contains a coin-battery power unit (or 9-volt battery cable) that’s rechargeable over a USB connection (cable included) allowing you to power your creations right out of the box. Those looking to share their creations, ideas or build-plans can do so through the littleBits website. The company even plans on selling the best builds as pre-packaged kits for others to buy through their ‘dreamBits’ idea page. It’s the hope of the company that littleBits will do for the kids today what LEGO did for kids a generation ago with inspiring creativity but on a whole new level.