littleBits Installation at MoMA Design Stores

Today through May 12th, the Museum of Modern Art Design Stores in New York City will feature littleBits, a New York-based open hardware startup, in two window displays.  The installations include four-foot-tall kinetic sculptures constructed of wood, cardboard and acrylic and animated with littleBit’s, well, “Bits.” It’s impressive that the displays were created without writing, programming or soldering – only sensors, switches, lights, and motors that snapped together with magnets were used. That is, the MoMA installations were created using Bits, which measure less than one square inch and are “tiny circuit-boards with specific functions engineered to snap together with magnets.” It makes sense as to why littleBits has been called “LEGO for the iPad generation.”

littleBit's display at the MoMA Design Store.

littleBit’s display at the MoMA Design Store.

These displays follow littleBits inclusion in the MoMA Design Store and’s design collection, as well as in the Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects MoMA exhibition. littleBits has also won numerous awards and accolades, including a TED fellowship and Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Educational Products. Not too shabby for a company that was founded in September 2011.

Yet, this is the first time that littleBits has undertaken such a large-scale project. As Ayah Bdeir, littleBits Founder & CEO explains,

We partnered with Brooklyn-based design studio Labour and challenged them to restrict themselves to only using littleBits for electronics, and no other hardware platform, or robotics tools for the entire display. Something as remarkable as a giant shark swimming after a tiny lure, or a cyclist turning a large Ferris wheel 10 times her size are at once iconic and familiar but absolutely distinctive in how we have merged two worlds, the world of art, and that of electronics. We are thrilled to have the encouragement and support of the world’s foremost art and design store to take on this crazy experiment.

littleBits' website includes a video tutorial on how to make a scaled-down version of the MoMa "Big Wheel."

littleBits’ website includes demos on how to make a scaled-down version of the “Big Wheel.”


The displays are innovative and fun and include interesting moving sculptures such as a “Swimming Shark” and a “Big Wheel.” And if they bring out the (not-so-suppressed) kid in you, try out littleBits’ demos to create smaller replicas of the installation pieces. Or you could create projects using Bits and enter their “Make Something Big” challenge. littleBits sells their tiny electronics individually and in preset kits, such as the Starter Kit, Extended Kit and Teaser Kit. Sounds like a good excuse to walk away from the computer and play!



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