littleBits

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Questions:

  1. Was the Arduino circuit board the inspiration for the project? What was the inspiration to the project?
  2. A lot of the pieces are built in systems, like attachable sensors and what not. Does the business intend to break down the parts even further to allow even more customization to the snapping?
  3. Are/were there any big changes to the original model that was set in mind? The class was talking about how the past can change the future. How would the past of littleBits shape littleBits of the future? Essentially, what is in store for littleBits for the next couple of years?

Bonus Question: Lego Mindstorm does competitions like First Lego League. Other companies like Vex do higher tech competitions with robots as well. Does littleBits plan to do anything similar, such as competitions or hacker labs?

Summary:

When the class arrived at littleBits, we settled in the lounge area where our hosts, Paul Rothman and Jordi Borras, introduced themselves and the company. We toured around the space and were introduced to some of their finished projects. The company, littleBits, has created an SMS machine and doorbell answering machine using their technology. Next, they showed the class their project with the Makey Makey. This project uses modules and voting systems to create various sine waves in the LCD monitor.

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We were also able to see a synthesizer that connects to a computer, a glove and machine that plays rock paper scissors with the user, a solar panel car, and much more. We discussed briefly about the rock paper scissors machine because a couple classmates have built one recently for the project. Moving along the tour, we were shown two large glass display tables that documented the company’s history. Paul explained that the company started the funding round around 2011, where it processed through the Series A funding in 2012 and Series B in 2014. They were first self-funding within 2008 to late 2009, and made prototypes by 2009. As of now, they have around 50 employees. In the span of 7 years, the company expanded from a kick-starter to a medium sized company.

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Personal Reflection:

littleBits has proven to be a very innovative company to make technologies and circuits less alienated to people. I am always for educational products and toys that would be able to teach students how to create systems from young ages. Like the Lego Mindstorm, I am really hoping that littleBits would consider doing hack labs, hackathons, or local/global competitions that would encourage students to learn how to build with technologies. From my previous experiences, the First Lego League competitions use visual coding to teach students the logic behind making the lego robot respond. However, I have had a vision in the past where visual coding is eliminated and straight on coding would be taught instead, because understanding the words of the code is different from visual coding. I believe that littleBits is another inspiring company, and it would be great to see them expand even further.

Relevant Links:

littleBits – littlebits.cc