How to Turn Your House into a Smart Home Using littleBits

By Ryan Koss

As techies, we are constantly connected, thanks to our beloved iPhones, our new smart watches and favorite productivity apps. But wouldn’t it be nice to stay connected with ordinary items around your home? (Psst…we call that “the Internet of Things.”)

Fortunately, a company called littleBits can help turn any house into a smart home, using simple electronic modules and some basic creativity. Follow along with this handy guide and learn how you can give that ordinary doorbell the brains it needs to send you a text message when someone is standing at your door.

What are littleBits?
littleBits offers electronic modules (or Bits) which snap together using magnets, to help you prototype and create virtually anything. With an ever-growing library of Bits, you will never run out of fun projects to help you jump into the future.

You can purchase the parts needed for this project (or an entire littleBits kit) at www.littleBits.cc.

Project: Smart Doorbell

What You’ll Need

IMG_8511RFLXLRCloud_1LRIMG_8533RFLXLRIMG_8500RFLXLR

         button x1               cloudBit x1           long LED x1        USB power Bit x1

Once you have all your Bits, find a clean work area where you can start assembling your project. (Parents, don’t worry: There’s nothing to solder and no tools are required.)

 Step 1: Set up IFTTT

IFTTT Recipe: If someone pushes my littleBits doorbell, then text me!  connects littlebits to sms

Create a free account at IFTTT.com or download the app for Android & iOS. When you’re done, add the IFTTT recipe above to enable your phone to receive a text message every time your doorbell is pushed.

IFTTT (If This Then That) is a tool that allows you to automate the tasks of your Web-connected devices. littleBits makes use of IFTTT through the cloudBit, allowing your creations to connect to the Internet using Recipes.

 Step 2: Connect the Bits

Step 1

Connect your USB power Bit to the button.

Add the cloudBit to the button. Feel free to add get creative and add some flare to your button by attaching a doorbell cover like the one seen above.

 Step 3: Test it Out

Step 2

Press the button with the USB power Bit and cloudBit connected.

With the IFTTT recipe enabled, a text message will automatically be sent to your smartphone. Now you will always know when someone is at the door, even when your headphones are on full blast.

Didn’t receive a text message? Make sure that you have properly set up your IFTTT account by referring to Step 1.

 

Automate the Future!

Want to learn more about electronic engineering? Digital Media Academy’s Robotics & Engineering summer camps use littleBits to introduce students to key engineering concepts, helping build strong foundations for future careers and life. Kick-start your creativity this summer and check out Adventures in Engineering & Rocket Science for students ages 8 to 12 today. Want to take it to the next level? Then Robotics & Electrical Engineering is for you.