Like everything else in our world, toys are getting more sophisticated and connected. LittleBits, Mthe company behind a series of Lego-like robotics kits, has a whole bunch of DIY sets. Among them is a just-launched update to its its Gizmos & Gadgets kit that includes a wireless Bluetooth Low Energy module. The kit, available today for $200, lets you communicate with or control the robots you create from your phone or tablet, via the company's new Invent app.
Like its predecessor, the new edition of the kit includes the parts and instructions for a bubble blowing bot, a wireless rover and arcade games. The pre-production box I received came with 13 modules -- what littleBits calls "bits." There are two DC motors, two Bluetooth bits, a buzzer, a fan, a light sensor, a wire bit, a power module and a slide dimmer that you can mix and match to build your own gadget. You'll also get wheels, mounting boards, adhesive shoes and screw drivers, along with an invention guide and seven project templates to help get you going.
The new Bluetooth capabilities adds a whole new layer of interactivity to the projects, since you can use not only your phone's touch screen for controls, but also the camera and gyroscope as well. So you can tilt your phone around to maneuver your crawling inchworm or DIY arcade game. One of the included projects, called Photobooth Controller, lets you remotely snap pictures from your device's camera. The pieces are all reusable, so you can remake them into an invention that suits your fancy whenever you tire of your old project.