STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and STEAM (the addition of Art into the acronym) were big at last month’s Toy Fair, and the latter was particularly well-represented by littleBits, a new building block toy for constructing electronic devices via electronic modules that magnetically snap together to allow users to create inventive projects out of simple circuitry.
Each of the littleBits pieces have specific functions—power, input, output, wire, light, sound, sensors, buttons, thresholds, pulse, motors, etc—and form circuits when linked into tiny circuit-boards that also have specific functions.
Prominently displayed at Toy Fair was the littleBits Synth Kit, which allows kids to build and then play rudimentary music synthesizers with correctly joined littleBits synth modules including keyboard, oscillator and micro speaker—all powered by a 9V battery.
Also on hand at Toy Fair were littleBits three new Exploration Kits--the Base Kit, the Premium Kit and the Deluxe Kit, each containing an assortment of the color-coded Bits modules that can form everything from a Morse code machine to an interactive pet cat, doorbell, alarm, a nightlight, glow-in-the-dark puppet and a bubble flute.
Besides a Synth Kit demonstration, littleBits’ retail program manager Josephine Sedgwick strapped on a “Keytar” made with the product and a guitar-shaped plastic template. She said that littleBits users have even devised a phonograph made from a pizza box, and a turntable by attaching paper plates to an oscillator.
Incidentally, New York’s Museum of Modern Art has added littleBits to its permanent collection.
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