littleBits + Shapeways Smarter Gadgets Makeathon

By Adam Skobodzinski

On Saturday, February 28th, designers, artists, engineers, makers, educators and people who have never even used littleBits came together for the 3D + IoT Smarter Gadgets Makeathon, hosted by Shapeways & littleBits. The Makeathon was held in our offices in Chelsea and over 30 people of all ages arrived around 11AM with a mundane, everyday object and their imagination at the ready. The day started with a panel featuring Heidi Farrell of Smart Design, Oscar Salguero of Kid O Toys, Ron Rosenmann of Frog Design and our very own Emily Tuteur.






We then broke up into teams and began prototyping! It was great to see strangers collaborate and combine their expertise to hash out ideas. The attendees used random material with bits to create intricate household hacks to help them in their daily life. After each presentation, we discussed how the team could have used Shapeways to add 3D Printing to the project.












Marj & Boian made the Tooth Doodle, a seismograph machine integrated into the toothbrush to help people find an ideal brushing curve!






Ilya, Mitul & Noel came up with two projects using the Jawbone UP App. One was a way to easily send caloric information to your phone to track your intake. Using a pressure sensor and the cloud, this group turned a box of oatmeal into a smart device!






The three makers also created a circuit that tracks their attitudes throughout the day. “The device detects the problem, reports it on Jawbone UP App and reduces the level of stress by stimulating sensory channels” using a fan and an Mp3 player. They delightfully named it Take A Chill Bit.






Sometimes, Caroline & Adele literally can’t even. So they devised a way to share their feelz using the cloudBit and a bargraph: Remorse Code.



caroline adele.CR2






“Set secret messages with your partner and dial in when you need to say something important. Having a bad day? Just set your dial up to sad and people won’t talk to you. In a really boring conversation at work? Set your dial for a friend in another office to give you a buzz to get you out of it. Just think of your bar graph as a bae graph and let your secret communication fly.”






The dream team of Bianca, Chris, Daniel, Jude, Nick & Stephanie put their heads together to fix a simple problem: toilet paper efficiency. Here’s their manifesto for the Sheet Saver:






Enough is enough! Saving trees one sheet at a time.

Our team constructed a touch-free toilet paper dispenser. The goal is to save trees by controlling the amount dispensed while also logging usage. Specifically, when the motion trigger is activated, a DC motor dispenses toilet paper for a short period of time. Simultaneously, the cloudBit sends a notification to IFTTT, which increments the toilet paper usage. By avoiding excessive toilet paper usage and recording usage, we hope to bring awareness to a mundane daily task. Conserving how much paper we use is one step that each of us can take to do our part in combating deforestation.

– Team Sheet Smart (a group of smart sheeters)






It seemed like there was one consistent attitude throughout some of the projects: work is frustrating and sometimes we need a hug, whether it be physical or virtual. Soundmail is a new service designed to connect people’s emotions through voices and song.






ShannonCortlanSooTharitReed gave a TED Talk-esque presentation, featuring beautiful slides of the UI of their new creation.





Mason, Maren & Bastiaan hacked a music box to make Brush-R, a song timer to help you brush your teeth for the optimum time of two minutes.









Conflict News is Eric’s news delivery service that delivers news through a paper sculpture.






The project uses IFTTT to detect news on the conflicts in Ukraine. The news triggers the PAPER TANK and urgent audio signals. The Tank then sends a message wirelessly to THE ROSE to activate, and intervene. When the situation is severe and there are casualties… red paper is blown in the path of THE PAPER TANK.



Lastly, our judges HeidiOscar submitted a project. Don’t worry, they’re disqualified, they just wanted to join in on the fun 🙂





Ratify is a very New York project. By attaching popcorn to a bend sensor and snapping on some synth modules, Heidi & Oscar created a way to creatively scare away pests. Once the synth is activated, a text is sent via the cloud module to the owner or pest control! Say goodbye to pesky pests. Well…who knows, maybe some cool Brooklyn rats will just take it as an opportunity to record a new album.






As the day wound down and the pizza was all gone, we all kept the party going into the sunset. It was a great day and we’re excited to have more Makeathons soon!














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