Last year, my daughter and I had the opportunity to try out Littlebits – magnetic circuits that make it easy for kids to create a variety of simple projects – for a few weeks. She's been talking about it ever since. Now the company is offering a new Arduino module that allows kids to not just make cool circuits, but to program them too.
The Littlebits crew manned one of the busiest booths at this month's Bay Area Maker Faire, with parents and kids all crowded around the few terminals and monitors that were each connected up to an Arduino module. The enthusiasm has apparently carried over to the company's business – the Littlebits "Arduino Starter Bundle" is currently back-ordered and the company is asking customers to allow an extra 2-3 weeks for orders that include the programmable bundle.
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Littlebits gives young hackers a functioning Arduino programming environment, but without having to fuss with any soldering, wiring or breadboarding. Among the basic projects that come with the kit is a digital Etch-a-sketch tutorial that takes inputs from other LittleBits modules and translates them into images on your connected computer. Other nifty projects include analog Pong and some fun sound tweaks including an 8-bit jukebox.
The Arduino bundle retails for US$89 and comes with many of the modules and accessories that are found in the other LittleBits kits like a servo, two dimmers, button input, and of course, the Arduino itself.
Check out the video below to get a sense of what LittleBits combined with Arduino could be capable of.