Jul 132015
 

littleBits Arduino with Extra I/O HeadersIn keeping in line with their KISS philosophy, the littleBits Arduino module does not offer (easy) access to the full range of analog and digital I/O options that can be found on regular Arduino boards like the Arduino Uno. As a matter of fact, the littleBits Arduino only provides 3 bitSnap inputs and 3 bitSnap outputs if you intend on staying entirely within the littleBits ecosystem. Another difference is that unlike regular Arduino boards, the littleBits version uses its micro USB port for programming only. Power for the module must be supplied via one of the bitSnap inputs.

If you want to use your own sensors or actuators and you don’t have a Perf Module or Proto Module, or if the bitSnap inputs (or outputs as the case may be) are all full, hope is not lost. littleBits recognized that many users would need more I/O and all it takes is a little bit (no pun intended) of soldering.

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Jul 062015
 
DIY littleBits Perf Module

DIY littleBits Perf Module

The littleBits modular electronics system is great for rapidly prototyping electronics circuits, but what happens if you want to use an element, switch, sensor, actuator, etc., for which a module does not exist? Fortunately, littleBits provides three different solutions for the problem. Two of these are ready to go modules: the Proto Module and the Perf Module, while the third are just the connectors you need to roll your own module: the BitSnaps.

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Jun 252015
 
littleBits BitSnaps Package - Front

BitSnaps Package – Front

The RadioShack here in town, *my* RadioShack, is finally closing its doors forever after more than ten weeks of clearance sales the likes of which I won’t likely ever see again. I scored a lot of cool gadgets at ridiculously low prices, but my favorite continues to be the littleBits modular electronics system. As I’ve previously written about, my introduction to littleBits was via the cloudBit Starter Kit and the Arduino Coding Kit. Since then I have been grabbing a handful of the individually packaged elements on my weekly trip to the Shack. Now that my harvest has come to its inevitable end, I’m posting my take. A few of these were included in the kits I had bought as well, but I know I don’t have to remind a fellow tinkerer that too many of anything is never enough. Now for the pictures …

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May 092015
 
littleBits Arduino Coding Kit

littleBits Arduino Coding Kit

So I honestly haven’t even had the chance to build a littleBits circuit more complicated than a battery, single dimmer and LED yet, but as soon as I unboxed the cloudBit Starter Kit, I knew I wanted more.

As an Arduino addict, grabbing the Arduino Coding Kit at a 60% discount seemed like a no-brainer. So just a few hours after returning home with my first littleBits kit, I was headed back out the door to grab a second.

I panicked on the short car trip to the store that they may have already sold the last one from the shelf. I’ve gotten burnt that way already as I try to balance my needs/desires against the current discount level during RadioShack’s clearance.

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May 082015
 
littleBits cloudBit Starter Kit

littleBits cloudBit Starter Kit

Ever since my local RadioShack started carrying littleBits, the modular electronics system for students, makers and hackers, I’ve spent more and more time in front of their display in the store, going back and forth about whether to purchase any. I never did pull the trigger. Until now.

Honestly, the price for both the kits and the individual components was (and still is) a bit off-putting. Maybe just as importantly, littleBits seemed like a step backward for me. I’m not an electrical engineer by any stretch of the imagination, but color-coded, snap-together components must just be be for kids, right?

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Feb 102006
 

Robotis RX

The Korea Times is reporting that on Thursday South Korean robot manufacturer Robotis unveiled the RX, a robot capable of running at almost 0.5 mph. Developed in conjunction with Samsung Electronics and Korea’s Ministry of Information and Communication, the RX stands 2 feet tall. Like the Robotis’s Bioloid kit, the RX is made up of modular components that can be rearranged easily into other forms according to Kim Byoung-soo, Robotis chief executive.

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Dec 102005
 

ROBOTIS Bioloid modular robot kit

I’m finally getting through posting about the robots at IREX last week, but the one that is left on my list, the ROBOTIS Bioloid robot kit, may be of the most interest to amateur roboticists. There are several robot kits available these days, and they run the gamut from relatively simple and cheap to expensive and complicated. On the more affordable end of the spectrum are Lego Mindstorms and Radio Shack’s VEX system. More expensive (and complex) products include Kondo’s KHR-1. Korean manufacturer ROBOTIS offers systems similar to the KHR-1 in that they can be purchased in a kit form that includes a microcontroller, servos, sensors, frames, and wheels. Unlike the KHR-1 each kit can be assembled into a variety of different forms including a humanoid, dog, spider, or whatever you can imagine. If you need additional components to create your custom bot, ROBOTIS sells all of the parts individually as well. The Bioloid kit sells for $1500 USD.