Highlights from HackCooper 2015

By Erin Mulcahy

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Last weekend, 200 high school, undergraduate and graduate students from across the US gathered at Cooper Union in NYC for a free, 24 hour hackathon. Participants worked in teams to create their dream projects, bringing together hardware and software in the battle to engineer the most innovative hacks. littleBits participated as the hardware sponsor, providing modules, prizes, tech talks and mentorship.


We loved seeing the students’ impressive experiments and ideas come to life, including first-time participants who were new to hacking and/or littleBits.


Of the four winning projects, two of them were created with littleBits! Read more about our favorite creations below:


Winner: Best littleBits Project @ HackCooper 2015
Winner: Best Aesthetic, HackCooper 2015 General Prize

Steven and Christina, a brother and sister duo, really used the littleBits modules to their potential! This creative project used a roller switch, DC motor, slide dimmer, number bit and a zip tie to create a score keeper on their pinball machine! They also did a great job combining the tools they had at their disposal, including laser cutters, acrylic sheets and sponsor swag, to create the frame around their circuits.





Winner: 3rd Place, Overall Best Hack @ HackCooper 2015

Arnold, Krishna and Gabrial, Cooper Union undergraduate students, harnessed the power of the Arduino module to create a custom animatronic hand, “Palmitron.” littleBits’ Senior Electronics Engineer Alin was on hand to offer guidance on how to program the Myo Armband to connect with the littleBits modules. The EMG sensors on the armband and its API were used to recognize the 5 gestures routed to the 5 actions displayed by the Palmitron. This was a great proof of concept that EMG sensors on the arm could be used to control a prosthetic hand!





Grace, Bridget and Alex, also Cooper Union students, created a unique morning alarm using a MIDI tune library found online to create and recognize MIDI tunes on the synth speaker. When the tune is heard, the user has to playback the tune on the keyboard in order to turn off the buzzer (the alarm). If they had more time, they would have liked to incorporate the cloudBit to make an automated alarm.



Wireless Key

Queens Vocational High School students, Htet and Udayan, enjoyed using littleBits in their very first hackathon! The team built a wireless key relying on the cloudBit, servo motor, and some 3D printed parts to connect with a door lock. The hardware newbies were excited to use the cloudBit and create their own IFTT recipe to activate the device.




Thanks again to HackCooper for inviting us to sponsor the event, littleBits team engineers Alin and Dennis for their mentorship, and to all the participants who took part in the hackathon! It was an awesome way to spend a geek-tastic Valentine’s Day weekend 🙂








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