CloudBit Libraries for Windows Apps

LittleBits are tiny electronic components that can be fitted together to create working circuits. They are great fun and you can find out all about them here:

They make a device called CloudBit:

This puts LittleBits signals into the cloud, where you can connect to them from browsers and services such as If This Then That (ITTT). I used my CloudBit in the Microsoft Band Hackathon earlier this week, where I was using values sensed by the cloudbit to trigger alerts in the Band. I also used the Band accelerometer to control the output of the cloudbit as well.

I thought I'd put the LittleBits library that I used to control the device up on GitHub. So I have. You can find it here:

You might want to control your LittleBits devices from your Windows PC or Phone, and that's what this library does. You can send a percentage power value to your CloudBit device and receive a percentage value back. What the signals mean is entirely up to you. They might control a servo, light a lamp, open a cat flap or any number of other actions. You can use the inputs from the CloudBit in any way you like too.

There's a sample universal application that uses the library. This is a good basis for getting started. You just need the device ID and access token for your CloudBit and you are good to go.

Getting Started with LittleBits

I'm turning into a bit of a fan of littleBits. They are a bit like Lego, but for electronics. They are rather hard to get hold of in the UK at the moment but I reckon they are worth the effort. Each of the "bits" has magnetic couplings on it that let you snap it to other bits and pass electrical signals around between them. It is intentionally very simple and works very well. 

LittleBits started off making simple circuits which have lights and dials and stuff, but based on the success of those kits they've branched out to make lots of other devices.

While I was in the 'states last year I picked up a Korg synthesizer kit. This is awesome. It lets you make the most amazing sounds.  I'm sure there are computer programs you can use to make these kinds of noises, but for me there's nothing like wiring things together and making sounds with them "the hard way". If I was making a space shooter game I'd definitely be using this kit to do all the sound effects. There are even people on the web who have recorded musical pieces using this simple hardware. And some of them are very good. 

Because each of the bits is compatible with all the others you can plug the sound generation components together with other sensors in the kits and make things like touch controlled musical instruments.

I've been playing with the bits for a while now (I've even got them talking to Windows Phone). In the next few weeks I'll be putting out some posts that tell you how.