I organized the first Little Bits workshop in Ga-Ok, Seoul, Korea in August 25th, 2012. This was a week after I organized ‘Open Hardware and Hacking’ workshop with Fab Coop, and thanks to many friends from media art community and educators and activists, the Little Bits workshop was very fun. We had about 25 participants, anyone from a person working in Toy company, hackers, curators, educators and students.
If you don’t know what Little Bits is, here is a nice video.
The workshop began with a 30 minutes presentation on Open hardware and then a shorter presentation on Little Bits. I explained the idea behind Little Bits project, which is lead by a friend Ayah Bdier. I also talked about my experience of making a gift for my nephew. I made a hand bound comic book for her last Christmas, however she got bored of it right away. When I went into her room, it was full of interactive toys that move and make noise. So I realized I should use my physical computing skills to make her awesome toy. Little bits is perfect for children and teenagers who are interested in playing with electronics. It turns out it’s great for adults who want to play as well. So the workshop was designed to collaborate on a small project together, with a group of 3~5 people. I asked some friends of mine, who are new media artists and educators to lead each of the group. However the participants were free to do anything with the kit. We had only 5 kit of Little Bits, so material was scarce. Also I wish to demonstrate AND/OR gates to introduce the ideas behind logic and basics of computation. However, not having ton of kits didn’t stop participants from devising interesting ideas. Little bits is a great tool to improvise, prototype, brainstorm and to have a great time.
Few other hackers in town also brought in their projects or the latest gadgets. Seungbum showed his micro controller projects and Makey Makey, and Byungsue also showed a cool programmed robot kit using two servos and a breadboard.
Also, for the hackers in the house, I explained about inner workings of Little Bits, which you can access in their website. All the schematics are available online (for example, you can download schematics for bar graph here or visit their github.) There were few interesting technical findings, such as using OPAMP in some bits to amplify signals. I made some prototype for modular kits, following the schematics, but with interchangeable parts (such as capacitors, LED, resistors). Reverse engineering Little Bits may be a very nice way for intermediate hackers to learn. I started building these modules out of necessity, however I think there can be interesting directions they can go. More on these soon. I hope to get there with <Open Hardware for Artists> class I’m organizing at The Public School NY, in Nov~December, New York.
This is also in super early development, but another team Dd-da at Ga-ok is into creative knitting. We were playing with fabrics and Little Bits to make interactive jewelry. I left the kits at Ga-ok, so hackers and knitters can get along to make something fun.
The Little Bits that were used for the workshop was generously gifted from Little Bits HQ. Thanks!