LittleBits Electronics, the 3-year-old company that was created to enable anyone to build electronic devices, now is making it easy for anyone to make electronic devices that connect to the Internet.
LittleBits officials on July 23 launched cloudBit, a new module that enables people to turn any object—from a thermostat and doorbell to a fish feeder and camera—into a connected device, which they said will greatly expand participation in the burgeoning Internet of things (IoT).
CloudBit "gives anyone the power to turn any object into an internet-connected smart device in a snap—no soldering, wiring or programming required," Colin Vernon, head of cloud platform at littleBits, wrote in a post on the company blog. "With the cloudBit, you can snap the internet to anything."
The company has created an ever-growing library of hardware modules—more than 50 so far—aimed at enabling anyone to quickly create gadgets and systems without needing high levels of programming, soldering or wiring skills. The modules can snap together via magnets. It's a goal similar to that of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which builds low-costs mini-computers that students and enthusiasts can use to learn to how to program.
With cloudBits, anyone can now take their own systems or any other object and connect them to the Internet.
"That means the Internet of Things is now open and accessible—enabling anyone to prototype, test ideas, and participate in a field that could change the world and how we live," Vernon wrote. "People can recreate popular connected devices (like a smart thermostat), invent their own, or build solutions to their unique needs. Our mission is to put the power of electronics in the hands of everyone, from the simplest circuits to powerful internet-connected devices."
CloudBit and limited edition Cloud Starter Bundle are available at littlebits.cc. The Cloud Starter Bundle comes with six electronic modules, an insert card with five tutorials (with another 100 availalble online) and two accessories that can be used to connect objects to the Internet. CloudBit is available for $59; the bundle for $99.
CloudBits can be paired with other modules in the littleBits library and objects can be made to communicate through the Web via a button or motion sensor, or in a machine-to-machine fashion by connecting multiple cloudBits together. LittleBits also has created the Cloud Control Web app to enable users to remotely trigger or read from the cloudBits.
LittleBits is partnering with the IFTTT service to make connections easier and RadioShack, which starting in August will start putting littleBits technologies on their store shelves. They be available in select markets next month and in 2,000 stores this fall.