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MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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14,179



LittleBits today introduced a new Smart Home Kit, which is designed to turn any household item into an Internet-connected smart device. Rather than buying various smart products, the Smart Home Kit encourages users to "reinvent" the things that they already own.

Using the tools in the kit, users might build curtains that open at sunrise, a remote controlled pet feeder, a doorbell that sends a notification when it's pressed, or a toilet paper roll that alerts users when it's empty. The LittleBits website has several different video examples of how the kit can be used, along with tutorials.

"Our mission is to put the power of electronics in the hands of everyone, and to break down complex technologies so that anyone can build, prototype, and invent. Democratizing the smart home industry is one more step in delivering on that promise," said Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO of littleBits. "The Smart Home Kit is giving people the power and opportunity to take the Internet of Things movement into their own hands, and bring their home to the 21st century, on their own terms ? recreate a popular smart device, retrofit an old appliance, or invent something entirely new that may be the next big thing."
The Smart Home Kit comes with 14 "Bits," including the cloudBit for connecting things to the Internet, an MP3 player, a temperature sensor, a light sensor, a speaker, an IR transmitter, and more. It also comes equipped with project ideas and 11 accessories, like an AC switch, which can interface with wall outlets for connected fans, lights, and more.

The Smart Home Kit can be pre-ordered from the LittleBits site for $249. Kits will begin shipping in early December, and LittleBits also plans to sell its Smart Home Kit in RadioShack stores next month.

Article Link: LittleBits Introduces Do-It-Yourself Smart Home Kit for $249
 

ibbumpin

macrumors newbie
Jul 11, 2013
9
1
Comcastic

If feeding your pet requires Comcast to be highly available then your pets are dead.
 
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flyinmac

macrumors 68040
Sep 2, 2006
3,578
2,453
United States
I'm just glad I won't have to rely on noticing that I've run out of toilet paper. Without these electronic notifications, things could get messy.
 
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ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,133
5,110
Pricey. I like the idea, but I wonder how difficult it would be to find cheaper, more general purpose parts that I can accomplish the same thing with? I know one of my coworkers was looking into combining a Raspberry Pi with HomeKit and a few random bits and pieces to make it so all the lights and outlets in his house could be controlled from his iPhone 6. Haven't checked with him how that's going yet... last I heard he was still just researching stuff and drawing up diagrams...
 
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pietrov

macrumors regular
Dec 9, 2011
163
14
Perfect.
Now I can have a cat. And a dog. And a fish. They'll stay at home without me from 5.30 a.m. up to 10.00 p.m.
Free to destroy my house...
Ah: I'll control the destruction via my webcams... :D
 
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michaelant

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2006
209
167
If the toilet paper roll notifier can't graph sheet use per person then this Smart Home initiative is useless to me.
 
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Ed217

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2012
341
79
Virginia
This is an interesting kit, but looks more like an electronic hobbyist breadboard kit rather than anything for general consumers. There are other more high-level products from companies like Smarthome that have been doing most of this for years.

My lights go on and off automatically. My door locks when I leave. My thermostat auto adjusts based on occupancy. Lights on stairs come on when you enter the area. Its a long list.
 
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laurim

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2003
1,926
866
Minnesota USA
I would have loved to get something like this as a kid. My dad and I built a simple telegraph and other projects. My brothers and I also built model rockets. My oldest brother used to do the Heathkits from Radio Shack and built an actual tv from scratch. This is a great way to get kids interested in STEM careers, especially girls.

I just got a new garage door opener with MyQ so I can use my iPhone to check whether the door is closed and operate it from wherever I am. Forgetting to close the door once and finding out someone went through your stuff changes your priority to make sure the garage door is always closed. Made sure MyQ is a HomeKit partner so I'll be able to integrate it into the rest of my future home automation. My projector and all the lights in my living room are on X10 so I can operate them with a remote. Will be changing them over to HomeKit products when they work out what that's going to look like. Sure, I could get up and walk around the room every time I have to switch something on/off or change the temperature but once I am snuggly under a blanket with a cat on my lap, I'd much rather just use my iPhone.
 
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enklined

macrumors 6502
Sep 13, 2007
327
0
Sacramento
My lights go on and off automatically. My door locks when I leave. My thermostat auto adjusts based on occupancy. Lights on stairs come on when you enter the area. Its a long list.

Mind detailing each of those with the products used/how?
 
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charlituna

macrumors G3
Jun 11, 2008
9,634
815
Los Angeles, CA
I wonder if I could use this to create a motion sensor to flush the toilet for my cats. It's the one thing I couldn't teach them to do when I potty trained them.
 
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Ed217

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2012
341
79
Virginia
Mind detailing each of those with the products used/how?

I use Insteon products from Smarthome mostly. I have been an X10 user for decades and had automatic lights in the 80s. Insteon is a far more reliable replacement for X10.

Stair lights are triggered by a motion sensor. Home light control by software that knows sunset/sunrise and has schedules for all.

I use a Nest thermostat and have an app that does GPS to set the away mode automatically when I leave/return.

I have a MorningLink door lock that is controlled by Insteon products and also does lock/unlock based on GPS. The same light scheduling tool also locks the doors every night at a fixed time. Manual control is via a keypad, or a key, or a remote, or via iPhone app.
 
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