November 14, 2018

The Secret to Happiness? Helping Others


Young inventors are changing the world by inventing for good

By Allison VanNest, Head of Communications at littleBits

By some accounts, the secret to happiness is helping others.

That’s why it is so exciting when we see kids coming up with inventions that are helping their communities, improving the lives of people with disabilities, and protecting the planet.

In September, littleBits introduced its Base Inventor Kit, a solution for kids around the world who are coming up with cool, playful inventions that solve big problems. It’s a great introduction to using littleBits, and it captures the ethos of the young inventors we work with every day.

littleBits, Base Inventor Kit, Bat Vision, Night Vision

littleBits’ free Inventor App takes kids through more than 12 activities with step-by-step instructions and tutorials that guide kids through building and customizing fun inventions to improve their rooms, help their communities, or save the world. Our goal was to highlight the stories of other young inventors so that kids can see ingenuity in action.

The Base Inventor Kit focuses on three things:

  • Community: How can kids design solutions that protect and promote wellbeing in their community?
  • Inclusivity: How can kids design solutions for people with disabilities?
  • Sustainability: How can kids design solutions to protect the planet?

Our goal was to inspire kids with real-world invention stories. Like that of Boyan Slat, a kid who was really passionate about ocean pollution and noticed that a lot of people were talking about it but weren’t taking action. Boyan took action and invented a new method of cleaning our oceans. It uses ocean currents to safely collect and remove trash.

Or Anahit, a member of littleBits’ own community who used littleBits to make Bat Vision, a wearable that buzzes when it detects an obstacle. Her project is helpful to many different people: blind people can use it to navigate, while others can use it to play a game.

Or Richard Turere, a kid inventor who noticed two problems in his Kenyan community: lions were attacking cattle so warriors killed the lions. He wanted to find a way to protect both the cattle and the lions, so he made an invention that uses sensors and flashing lights to automatically scare the lions away without harming them.

What can you make with the Base Inventor Kit?

Kids can make many different projects with their Base Inventor Kits, including:

  • Stuff Protector: Intruders beware! Create an alarm to alert you when someone is close by or to protect your room.
  • Navigator: Build a handheld device that allows you to navigate in the dark, or use it to find your friends in a game of tag!
  • Robo-Arm: Create a Robo-Arm that helps you grab stuff. Then transform your invention to make the gripper voice-activated.
  • Environment Challenges: Build small-scale solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges, like a smart Trash Chomper or a Sea Cleaner.

But that’s not all. One of the best things about the Base Inventor Kit is that it is modular — as are all littleBits STEAM kits. That means that any of the Bits in the kit will work with any of the Bits in our other kits — and kids can use everyday craft materials to add to their own inventions. For example, has your kid ever thought of building a Bear Bot?

Share how your kid is inventing for good this week on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!


Posted in: Education, Educators, Parents, Products, STEM/STEAM
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