Device Prototyping

Testing and finding the best product

The LittleBits Smart Home Kit

I was very enthusiastic about this last studio session because even though I have never used LittleBits before, I really love to play around with objects and build things.

Initial Thoughts and Steps

Before I went to the studio session, I tried to familiarize myself with the LittleBits Kit and think of devices I could potentially build. Some ideas I initially came up with included a Mood Music Player, an Air-Control System, and a Rock-a-by-baby Monitor.

My Initial Ideas: the Mood Music Player, the Air Control System, and the Rock-a-baby monitor

Although by the time I went to the studio session I was slightly familiar with the LittleBits Kit, I think it would have been helpful for me and other students if we had been debriefed on some of the key bits in the LittleBits Kit before the studio session. For example, I do not think anyone knew how to use the CloudBit.

Before we began prototyping, my partner and I considered various devices we could build, but we really liked the idea of building an anti-theft device, especially one that could prevent theft on everyday items that working people carry around: phones, laptops, chargers, etc.

After testing out different sensors, we found that using the Light Sensor Bit would be the easiest and most straight-forward way to build our device.

A demo video for the final product can be viewed below.

Reflecting Back

The first phase of prototyping was not easy because I did not know if I was using the bits correctly.

My partner and I working on our first go with LittleBits

I then organized my thoughts and broke down the design process. I asked myself: what were the most significant tasks my device needed to accomplish? And, what bits could be used to accomplish these tasks most efficiently Answering these two questions made it easier to analyze my ideas and build on them. Hence, I think my partner and I were able to build a really innovative prototype.

In the future, I might try becoming more familiar with the prototyping kit before I play around with it, just so that I can work efficiently.

Looking Forward

If you had the chance to change or improve your product, what would you do?

If I was able to improve my product, I would add other sensor bits in order to diversify to the way the anti-theft device could work. We used the light sensor because it was the easiest to utilize for our prototype. But looking back, I feel that the light sensor might have been too sensitive. Perhaps we could have added a weight sensor, or a temperature sensor as well which could sense if the object had been removed by calculating temperature differences. If a geo-tracking bit was available, the prototype could also report to the user the location of the user’s stolen object.

Conclusions

Device prototyping was perhaps the aspect of design that I was most unfamiliar with, but also the aspect that I had the most fun working on. I was intrigued by the process of using the LittleBits Kit to build simple prototypes. I definitely want to try using similar products to prototype and create innovative devices in the future.

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