In this video we are going to open up the littleBits Rule Your Room Kit and show off why we really like this versatile kit.
Our Review of littleBits Rule Your Room Kit
Hey guys, Aidan here from Core Electronics and today we’re going to take a look at the LittleBits Rule Your Room Kit. We’re going to take a review over the kit and take a look at what is inside the kit and most importantly we’re going to let you guys know whether it’s worth it, whether we like the kit. So, let’s not stop there, let’s keep going..
What we’re going to do is take a deeper look at the kit so I’m going to pull this one out of its box now and we’ll see what we get. So, just so you know LittleBits has actually received multiple awards for this kit. A lot of people all around the world really love it and they’ve called it one of the best tech toys of 2016 so let’s see why.
Now the LittleBits Rule Your Room Kit comes with this invention guide. This is a 76 page invention guide that is loaded with information and and has 4 projects that you can make right out of the box not to mention, if you grab the LittleBits Invention App you can also get recommended projects and challenges from LittleBits all the time based on what other people around the world have been making.
This particular kit comes with 7 bits and a handful of accessories so let’s take a look at the bits one by one. If you know anything about LittleBits you’ll know that they are small magnetic building blocks for circuitry and electronics, we’ve got an entire kit here, like I said and I’ve got a Blue Bit in my hand. A blue bit is a power bit and its simply powered by a 9 V battery so you get the battery snap here and you get your 9V battery and you can connect the 9V battery up to the bit quite easily just like that. You’ve got a little on off switch. The idea behind LittleBits, like I’ve said is they are small magnetic building blocks for circuitry and it’s one of the best ways that i’ve personally seen for kids to get interested in electronics. Now we run workshops here at Core Electronics at our Knowledge Factory, LittleBits workshops especially and kids love, I mean absolutely love playing with this kit. Now the main reason for that is and I’ll show you now - this is the centre piece bit of the kit and it’s the Makey Makey Bit, now if you haven’t heard of Makey Makey jump onto our website and have a look at some of the tutorials that Sam has done and he really covers off on what Makey Makey is and he shows you some cool things that you can make with it. LittleBits have done the same thing, now they’ve shrunk down the original Makey Makey board and they’ve put it on to a Bit and this is it here. The Makey Makey Bit that you can see here actually has 3 different inputs that you can control and a micro USB cable so you can connect that up to your computer. Essentially these are keystrokes on a keypad, you can use some of the included alligator clips that are included to connect up to anything that’s conductive in the world around you and control either your computer or your Littlebits invention using some made up switches. So that’s the centrepiece Bit of this kit, now every single invention in this kit, you get 4 guided projects which LittleBits has completely illustrated and documented on how you can put that together. It’s really really good for someone that is just starting out with stem education, they can pick this kit up and pretty much start from the beginning and go all the way through. After the guided projects you get some challenges in this particular kit the guided challenge is making a kitchen invention - children are challenged to come up with a completely new idea on an invention that can help them out in the kitchen which is really really cool. So that is the Makey Makey Bit and like I said it is really easy, it’s also got a switch here so you can change the middle buttons output to be, or control which ever keystroke it is to be space or a click, that is space bar on your computer or the click of a mouse, the left click of a mouse. It’s a very cool bit, I’m very impressed with this bit. After that we’ve got some of the typical Bits that you see in a LittleBits Kit. So I’ve got 2 here and they are both pink bits, pink is input and one side here I’ve got a dimmer which is just a potentiometer that controls your circuit power level which is really easy to use, you just put that right after your power Bit and away you go. And this is a sound trigger, this is a small microphone Bit and it’s also got a little sensitivity switch here that you can adjust with one of your accessories. You get a small plastic purple screwdriver and you can just turn this little wheel to the left or right to increase or decrease the sensitivity. This is really cool for sound activated inventions like a clapping buzzer or a clapping lamp or something and you can activate it by sound. Speaking of buzzers, we’ve got some output bits now, remember I said 7 Bits in total in this kit and the last 3 Bits are all output Bits. Now this one is a buzzer and this one is a very very noisy buzzer. It’s pretty simple, I’ll show you guys how it works, you just connect it straight up to power, you just make sure that your Bit is oriented the right way, the buzzer Bit is not the perfect Bit to you this but very other Bit has some arrows on the top which dictate the direction that you should be joining your Bits together. So you just connect these ones up like this and, that’s it, that’s the buzzer. Like I said you can connect Bits in sequence to make your invention work, if I connect that Bit up there and I’ll grab out some alligator clips which I’ve got here and I can make a really simple switch - whoops we’ve got some copper tape in there from one of our inventions the other day! So right now the buzzer isn’t doing anything but when I connect these two cables up with my Makey Makey Bit what will happen is it will allow the current to flow through and the buzzer will work, it’s really as easy as that. I’m sure that you could imagine that you can connect anything that is conductive up to these Makey Makey bits or the Makey Makey itself and it will work just like that. You also get a small servo and you get some accessories to go along with your servo, if you haven’t seen or know what a servo is again we have some tutorials available on our website, core-electronics.com.au and they cover over what a servo is, how it works and how you can control it. But you don’t need to worry about too much of that today, because LittleBits has pretty much covered the whole lot. All you need to do is connect that one up in line with your power bit and you can control the servo in one of two ways. So you can control it using a swing mode which will just swing form the start to the end continuously so it will go from start to end from start to end, or you can turn on to turn mode in which case you can control it using one of your input bits. So for example this small potentiometer would control the position of the servo. Another cool invention from LittleBits, we’ve got the servo mount, so this will enable you to fix your servo to an invention so you can click your servo into that little gap, you get a couple of screws that come with your servo which just screw in using a small phillips head screwdriver and yeah, you can just pretty much clip that in attach it to an invention and you can have movement in your invention essentially. They also give you this particular collection of accessories, so this is the movement arm and the servo hub so this can just go straight on to your servo and we have seen some cool inventions made with that, just that and a bit of arts and crafts. So thats another good addition to a kit from LittleBits.
And finally everyones favourite, the bar graph Bit, it’s really simple to use, its got 5 LEDs along the front and you can just increase the power level and it will increase how many LEDs are on so it’s really good for projects that glow and whathaveyou. We’ve got a few more accessories, so we’ve got a couple more servo accessories that come with the kit which is always good to have. Now we also have the mounting board. Now this is pretty much the basic idea behind all your inventions. You want to prototype your inventions on a desktop just like this but then it comes to a point where you want to fix your invention to a board. Now the original LittleBits mounting board, which is this one here, actually had a lot of problems doing that, LittleBits put out guides and everything showing people how to clip your invention into a mounting board. So that is the opposite of what you want when you’re buying a kit for a small kid to be able to play with at home. I know that in the workshops we run we were having a lot of difficulties because there were a few kids out there that just didn’t have the strength to push it in and after 5 minutes of trying it would just pop out so LittleBits have done everyone a really good favour there and included the new design in the mounting boards. So you can see the difference there, it’s completely see through and the real difference is you just plug your invention in. It’s just super easy now, that is a welcome addition to this kit and you also get two of them in the Rule Your Room Kit, so thats nice to know.
Now you get a USB cable, remember I was talking about the Makey Makey Bit connecting to your computer, there’s an invention in the guide about connecting your computer up and this is how you’ll do it. You’ll use this micro USB cable. So there’s nothing special about that one, it’s a micro USB cable. We’ve got 4 alligator clips like we showed you before and they’re for your Makey Makey Bit, that’s cool. We’ve got the battery and the battery snap which we’ve already looked at, we’ve got some adhesive feet. Now I should call them shoes because they’re for the feet so your inventions have the top side which is everything we’ve been looking at. If you flip him over you get a small semi circle forming from 2 quarter circles on the feet of your invention, now these little shoes can just clip on to these feet and it takes away from your mounting board in a way but it also allows you to mount your invention to things. For example this one here has a small piece of double sided tape on it and when you peel that red cover off you can then stick that invention to something which is really cool and it holds it all together which if you’ve ever used LittleBits or you’ve seen someone use it one of the biggest problems that I see is that when people pick up their invention after they’ve made it and it all falls apart so that’s an awesome addition.
Now we’ve got some cardboard templates which are for the guided inventions in the Kit which is awesome to have, more alligator clips and more feet. There’s also some velcro feet which is really cool, you can get some velcro tape, some soft velcro tape alongside these hard velcro feet and you can clip your inventions to things again. So that is everything that you get in your LittleBits Rule Your Room Kit.
So let’s take a more in-depth look at the guide because I think that this is a massive part of the reason that you would buy a LittleBits Kit. So, let’s just have a quick flick through what we get with our LittleBits Guide. With every LittleBits Guide you get the Basics and that goes through the anatomy of a bit, the color coding, the index of your Bits so blue, pink, green and orange and what they all mean. Then we go through the magnets, how they all work including the arrows on the top, that’s a really good and intuitive way for children to learn about the flow of electricity. We’ve also got the order, that’s an important section just telling you that if you don’t have output bits in your circuit it’s going to be very difficult to see anything happening which is a good point. We then step on to the LittleBits Invent App, that’s something that is really cool that LittleBits has bought out recently. It’s a free app available on iOS and Android devices, so on Google Store, and you can sign on to your LittleBits account and through that you can add your Kit to your Bit Collection and then it will give you recommend projects and challenges that you can attempt with your kit. At the end of your inventions which we’ll see in a second, there is a share section where you can share your invention with the LittleBits community and the LittleBits Invent App makes that super easy to do. Alright, so now we’ve got the Meet the Bits Section, so we meet the Bit, for example the Power Bit, it tells you that every circuit starts with power providing the juice that makes your Bit spin, buzz, blink and shine. It then tells you how the Bit works, shows you a sample circuit and gives you a real world analogy. If you were to go through every single bit and accessory with a fine toothed comb you would have a pretty good idea of everything you could do with your Bits. Following that point we have a LittleBits Invention Cycle. That’s a cool thing that LittleBits do that they’ve always done, it’s a really cool way to teach children LittleBits and students LittleBits. So the idea is that you create something, that you just put it together on the desk and then you play with it so you see if it’s doing what you wanted it to do and you find the strengths and weaknesses out. You then remix it, so if there’s anything that you want to add or change about your invention that is when you do it. You do that until you’re happy essentially, once you’ve remixed it enough you’ll be happy with your invention and you can share it with the community and it’s simply awesome. We’ve got the icon index which is pretty much related to the projects. And then we’ve got the quick section on Conductors and Insulators so that is a really simple explanation of the difference between a Conductor and an Insulator and it relates directly to the Makey Makey Bit so it’s important to know that stuff. We’ve got a few examples of good conductors and then we move on to our projects. So, just taking a look at a sample project, it gives you an idea of what the project will look like when its complete and then it takes you through the create section, all the way through with really nice illustrations. Then you get to play with your bit, it gives you a quick section on how that is actually working as an invention and then you can Remix it and share it on the LittleBits App. That’s the simple idea behind all four projects in the book and like I said after all those projects are complete we get an Inventor Kitchen Contraption Challenge like I said you get to start playing with your Bits on your own and they give you some ideas of inventions you could possible create and then you’re free to make something completely on your own and you follow that LittleBits invention cycle all over again. They give you an idea of getting more inventions from your kit, you can just go on the app like we talked about and a glossary of all the terms we used in the guide and some trouble shooting steps which is really good.
So what i’ve found is that this is one of the favourite kits from LittleBits, kids love making pressure sensors and things like that. We use it in the workshops like I’ve said before and it’s just a super in depth kit and kids really love playing with it and remixing their inventions and especially sharing it with everyone what they’ve made because not every kit has the Makey Makey bit so some of the inventions are really special. If you were looking to buy a kit, maybe for a kid at home or a niece or a nephew this would be a great pick up because it’s all contained in the kit, the kid can pick it up, run into their room and in no time at all they’ll be making all sorts of inventions and they’ll be really cool to have. If you’re looking for a classroom kit or something then maybe steer away from the Rule Your Room Kit because it only comes with 7 bits and that’s because it’s more targeted for someone that is going to be playing at home. So I hope this has really educated you guys on what the Rule Your Room Kit is and why you would use it and all the value that you get with it because obviously we’ve been through all that sort of stuff. If you want any more information on LittleBits or the Rule Your Room Kit feel free to get in touch with us or leave a comment down below. Thanks for watching guys, have great day :-)