How littleBits Engineers Turn Their Ideas Into DIY Kits #makereducation

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Great piece in Popular Science on littleBits’ process and how they move from concept to product:

Every electronic module in a littleBits kit is, well, little. Their small size and ability to snap together in nearly any combination make them useful prototyping tools: Engineers often use them to build rough versions of a new product. In order to pack a variety of functions into the streamlined modules, or “bits,” the company has to do some prototyping of its own.

Bits range in complexity, from a button to a mini keyboard. But they all start out the same—as electrical schematics. Take the direct current (DC) motor module, for example. The engineering team, led by Geof Lipman, first modeled the circuit on a computer. “Simulations really reduce the number of times you have to mess with stuff,” Lipman says. Next, the team launched into the physical design process—just like the one used by DIYers everywhere.

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