How littleBits Engineers Turn Their Ideas Into DIY Kits #makereducation
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.
Each Tuesday is EducationTuesday here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts about educators and all things STEM. Adafruit supports our educators and loves to spread the good word about educational STEM innovations!
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.