Device Prototyping (Sprint 5)

Within this studio session, we were given a LittleBits kit to work with in order to create a prototype.

Alaa and I experimenting with all of the parts in the LittleBits kit.

In order to move from my initial exposure of LittleBits to actually generating a prototype involved playing around with the kit so I could figure out what all of the parts could do. Both my partner and I made lots of combinations of the different parts to see what we could come up with in a short time. This went well as it allowed us to see what each part was capable of. However, when we started playing around with the cloudbit, it took a long time to get it working. Unfortunately, this took away time that we could’ve spent experimenting. It would’ve went smoother if we had looked up a tutorial prior to attempting to set it up. By the end of this process, we decided to create a doorbell prototype (from inspiration on the back of the box), which ended up being relatively easy to complete since we had experience using all of the parts needed for the prototype (demo here).

We finally got the cloudbit to work properly with our doorbell prototype!

After creating a prototype, one question I had was: “What else could I create with LittleBits?” Thinking about it now, you can create all sorts of simple prototypes with LittleBits. You could make a light prototype that could turn on/off from a loud clap or create a fan prototype that automatically turns on/off once it goes above or below a predetermined temperature. This led to another question, “how advanced of a prototype can I create?” The prototype we made only took about 20 minutes, but in the future, it would be fun to experiment with more time to see how advanced of a prototype you could create with the parts in the kit.

My question: How difficult was it for you to come up with an idea that you could create with the given parts in the LittleBits kit?

Admittedly, it was fairly difficult to come up with sketches that I felt could be created with the LittleBits kit. Even though I knew what parts came with it, it was still hard to visualize how I could create something without any prior experience with LittleBits. I thought to myself, “what if I needed a part that wasn’t in the kit?” As a result, both my partner and I decided on creating a prototype that we saw on the back of the box as it was something we knew that could be made with the given parts, rather than referring to any of the sketches we sketched prior to studio.

During this entire sprint, one question that occurred to me was, “when do smart home devices become too much of an invasion of privacy and start to negatively affect security?” If smart home devices collect data about when you arrive home so the lights can flicker on, that information could potentially get into the wrong hands. Right now, I’m not really sure just how much data collection is too much. If your house is completely hooked up with all of the latest smart home devices, you might have a huge security risk as literally everything you do in your house and all of it’s settings are stored in the cloud and elsewhere. The company who produces the devices might temporarily own your data, but that doesn’t mean they won’t sell it to others or use it for other purposes that might potentially put you and your family’s safety at risk. At this point, I think it’s up to the home owner to decide which smart home devices they should put into their house so the can determine their own balance of privacy invasion versus security risk.