Celebrating a Happy New Year with littleBits

By admin

This is an amazing project! We love the “Happy New Year with littleBits” video from Scott Dawson with a wonderful project demo by Xander. Wishing you a Happy New Year and thank you for sharing – you guys rock!

We asked the Dawson family if they’d give us a little background on the creative process to make their creation. Here’s their story…

“I bought my children, Elizabeth (12) and Xander (9) the littleBits starter kit earlier in the year after reading about it in Wired. I thought it’d be a wonderful way to get them interested in electronics, and I was right. They’ve had a wonderful time assembling different circuits, hypothesizing about what would happen, and showing their friends. For Christmas, they got a few choice components like the light wire and light sensor, and they were very excited to make even more creations!

In general, we’re very happy without cable TV in our house, but find it’s difficult for some events (the Olympics, Superbowl, and yes – New Year’s Eve). We decided to spend New Year’s Eve just as a family, playing games, having a wonderful homemade meal, and trying our best to stay awake until midnight!

To help usher in 2013, Xander wanted to build his own version of the ball drop in Times Square. We started off trying to rig up a flashing 2013 sign (using the light wire) that would flash to bouncy balls rolled through a vertical cardboard tube. However, they weren’t substantial enough to trigger the pressure sensor or button, so we started thinking about what else we could do.

We made and tested the 2013 sign with the light wire, and tested it by simply by turning the power on and off. How could we make it better? Xander observed that the sign wasn’t really useful until the lights were out or dimmed, so we put the light sensor on and turned off the lights. Getting better! Xander then had the brainstorm to put the pulse module into the circuit. It worked, and then when the lights went out at midnight, the blinking sign came to life!

It was a very a Happy New Year for all of us!”

~Scott Dawson


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