Wearable Tech Hits the Runway at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week
Wearables lit up the runway in Toronto this past Thursday as brain-sensing headbands and LED clothing walked the catwalk in a wearable tech fashion show at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.
[[MORE]]The fashion show, curated by We Are Wearables, was presented at Toronto’s first Men’s Fashion Week and highlighted the fashionable side of wearable tech by pairing wearables with designer clothing by David C. Wigley and Sons of Odin.
Wearables included the brain-sensing headband, Muse, which acts as a brain-fitness tool to help you be more calm and focused as well as LED panels by MeU which showed off some custom animations for the fashion event include pulsing hearts on the front and scrolling TOM* at the back which was the fashion week’s logo.

Many of the wearables used LEDs to give greater visibility especially in bike safety. These included UTOPE’s Sporty Supaheroe Jacket, Vega’s Bomber Jacket and Vega Edge clips which use magnets to attach blinking or stable LEDs to any piece of clothing or accessory.

The show also included a Tech Tie which had individual LED panels light up in patterns and an avant guard LED helmet made of paper linen.
All photos credited to Billy Lee / @MakingSenses

Wearable Tech Hits the Runway at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week

Wearables lit up the runway in Toronto this past Thursday as brain-sensing headbands and LED clothing walked the catwalk in a wearable tech fashion show at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.

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Reducing the Digital Distraction with Haptics: Featured Speaker Jack Lindsay
Haptics refers to tactile technology that recreates the sense of touch. Perhaps the most common example of haptics is your smartphone vibrating when you receive a notification. But vibrating phones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this more natural interaction. 
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Imagine a device that you squeeze when you want to know if you have an email or a text. Or to be able to practice CPR on a dummy outfitted with silicon material that mimics the feel of skin. Technology is moving beyond the click of a mouse or the tap on a screen to provide more natural, tactile, haptic feedback. 
Designers of Things speaker Jack Lindsay is an expert on haptics. We caught up with him to talk about the haptics space and how this new interaction with technology will change our relationship with tech and each other. 
Lindsay sees some promising haptic advancements being used in the medical space where he sees the greatest value. Exoskeletons, where the motors restrict or support the muscle movement in order to assist the user in walking, is just one example. He also sees wearable body suits, currently used for VR games, as having the potential to use haptics as a form of physiotherapy to teach users how to move again. This same suit could even potentially be used to coach a user to play a whole new sport, like snowboarding. 

For Linsday, haptics go way beyond a new way to interact with technology. He sees it as a key design change which will shift the paradigm to minimize distractions rather than exasperate them as our current screen-based technology does.
Jack Lindsay will be speaking about impedence matching, a method for designing a haptic-feedback system at the Designers of Things conference in San Francisco this September.
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This article is part of our featured speaker series for Designers of Things Conference which takes place September 23-24, 2014 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, California. Get your VIP and Tech passes by clicking here.

Reducing the Digital Distraction with Haptics: Featured Speaker Jack Lindsay

Haptics refers to tactile technology that recreates the sense of touch. Perhaps the most common example of haptics is your smartphone vibrating when you receive a notification. But vibrating phones are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this more natural interaction. 

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Creating A Balance Between Physical and Digital Life (Video)
Nothing makes us more excited here on the Designers of Things blog then to see a new video in the Creators Project “Make It Wearable” series. In this latest spot, Vice + Intel have chosen to highlight how wearables can help us step away from our notification addiction and start to live a more balanced life. 
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The video features Kate Unsworth, Founder and CEO of Kovert Designs, a design house creating smart jewellery to “inspire and liberate the modern consumer”. She talks about how current wearable tech, like smartwatches and smartglasses, are what she calls “enablers” or devices that deepen our addiction to our smartphones by focusing on notifications. Her design house aims to move the technology into the background and only present itself when its absolutely necessary so that it doesn’t get in the way of social interactions or interrupt you when you really need to concentrate. 
"I’m all for living a digitally connected lifestyle, provided I am given the option to turn down my level of connectedness at certain points of the day", Unsworth tells Creators Project on the video. "That means giving my self breaks from my smartphone or computer screen when I am trying to be creative or when I need to de-stress or when I really want to concentrate on the person or the task at hand". 
The smart jewellery Kovert Designs expects to have ready for Christmas of this year will allow its users to configure options in an app to control the types of notifications they will feel via haptic feedback. If you only want your ring to tell you when your Mom or kids are calling, Kovert’s jewellery will facilitate this. In addition to notifications, Kovert is also working on gesture functionality that would allow you to turn your music up or down or your lights off and on with the wave of your hand. 
The use of haptic feedback and gestures, such as those that Kovert is using, begins to shift us away from our need to always be looking and interacting with screens. Instead it creates a world where we interact with the digital space in a more natural and less distractive manner, putting us more in control of the moment. 

Creating A Balance Between Physical and Digital Life (Video)

Nothing makes us more excited here on the Designers of Things blog then to see a new video in the Creators Project “Make It Wearable” series. In this latest spot, Vice + Intel have chosen to highlight how wearables can help us step away from our notification addiction and start to live a more balanced life. 

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The Padlock Gets Disrupted with Noke
I currently have three padlocks in a drawer all without keys. That’s pretty much the story with most padlocks. They do the trick but you often risk locking the item you are protecting away for good because the keys are just so tiny and are easy to lose. And we all know that combination locks aren’t any better. That’s why I am pretty excited about Noke, the first bluetooth padlock which is crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
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Noke (pronounced No + Key) uses Bluetooth technology to connect to a smartphone to check if the authentication key is available. Once there is a match, the lock opens up. There are no keys. No combinations. And better yet, you don’t even need to take your phone out of your pocket. You simply push the shackle on the lock and as long as your phone is in range (10 feet), the lock will open and you are on your way.
Noke also lets you easily share access to a lock by sending time-based invites to your friends via the Noke smartphone app. The app keeps a history of when the lock is used which adds an extra level of visibility you obviously wouldn’t get with a traditional dumb lock.
But what if your phone dies? Well, the FUZ Designs, the company behind the product, has a patent-pending solution called Quick-Click technology. This allows you to set a code which you input on the lock by pressing the shackle. Key in the code and the lock will release.
Backers can grab a Noke right now at $59 which is $30 off retail. At the time of this article, FUZ Designs has raised over $230,000 from its campaign which had an original goal of $100,000 with 27 days to go. I’ve already started to empty my drawers in anticipation.  

The Padlock Gets Disrupted with Noke

I currently have three padlocks in a drawer all without keys. That’s pretty much the story with most padlocks. They do the trick but you often risk locking the item you are protecting away for good because the keys are just so tiny and are easy to lose. And we all know that combination locks aren’t any better. That’s why I am pretty excited about Noke, the first bluetooth padlock which is crowdfunding on Kickstarter.

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Wearables Market Expected to Explode by 2018
Some promising numbers for wearables have been published recently by CCS Insight’s global forecast. Smart wearable devices are expected to grow from the 9.7 million sold in 2013 to 135 million by the time we hit 2018. And by end of the year CCS predicts we will see 129% year-over-year growth of wearables to 22 million sold, most of these sold in the upcoming holiday cycle.  
[[MORE]]Like an IDC report published earlier this year, CCS forecasts that the most successful type of wearable within the next five years will be wrist-worn devices, especially those that give users the ability to track things about themselves including their health. In fact, CCS’s research indicates that by 2018 nearly 7% of the developed world will own a quantified self device.
The report further hypothesizes that smartwatches will eventually replace fitness bands within the next five years as the price goes down and their capabilities expand. In the next year, CCS expects that independent wearables that have their own SIM cards will be more readily available but will face some challenges in adoption, especially the need to take on additional data plans.
Also similar to the IDC report, CCS agrees that wearables like Google Glass will have the toughest time in its growth journey, stating aesthetic and privacy concerns as the biggest barriers to adoption.

Wearables Market Expected to Explode by 2018

Some promising numbers for wearables have been published recently by CCS Insight’s global forecast. Smart wearable devices are expected to grow from the 9.7 million sold in 2013 to 135 million by the time we hit 2018. And by end of the year CCS predicts we will see 129% year-over-year growth of wearables to 22 million sold, most of these sold in the upcoming holiday cycle.  

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Linkin Park Gets 3D Printed For Fans 
Linkin Park is the latest music group to leverage the power of 3D printing to market its music. The band has teamed up with German 3D scanning and printing shop, Stramba, to offer realistic figurines of each band member to mark “The Carnivores World Tour 2014”.
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Based in Berlin, Stramba offers 3D printed photo-realistic figures and call themselves “pioneers” in this field. They offer their services to print and handcraft celebrities as well as ordinary people. 
Back in June of 2014 they scanned the entire band of Linkin Park and are now offering fans the chance to buy band members individually or as a group. Limited edition 1:5 scaled versions of Rob Borudon, Mike Shinoda, Chester Bennington and others in the band retail for $499 with only 99 available in the run. While a regular run of figurines scaled 1:10 of the each band member is available for $149. The entire band can be bought as one figure for $295.
All 3d figures are made of polymer clay and are printed and handcrafted in Berlin by Stramba. They take up to two weeks to create on demand and then another 3-4 days to ship. Right now Stramba has “exclusively opened [its] doors for Linkin Park” but its website states that they “will add more celebrities from Music, Sports, Movies and more all the time”.
Linkin Park joins Cut Copy and Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke and W.ill.i.am in using 3D printing to market music either by showcasing this new technology in a music video, like Cut Copy and W.ill.i.am have done in the past, or in the case of Kele Okereke actually use a 3D printer to print LPs of a new track.

Linkin Park Gets 3D Printed For Fans 

Linkin Park is the latest music group to leverage the power of 3D printing to market its music. The band has teamed up with German 3D scanning and printing shop, Stramba, to offer realistic figurines of each band member to mark “The Carnivores World Tour 2014”.

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Protecting 3D Printing Designs: Featured Speaker Patience Jones
As the consumer 3D printer space grows, so too are concerns about pirating of digital files which allow people to 3D print designs without the designers permission or any direct compensation for its use. In a way, the physical world is about to embark on a similar journey the media industry continues to struggle with in managing and monetizing products that have now gone digital. We sat down with Designers of Things speaker, Patience Jones, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law school to get glimpse into this topic which she will be also speaking about at the conference in September.  
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Jones has extensive experience working in the legal field on cases involving Intellectual Property. When it comes to protecting of 3D designs, Jones told us that in theory the same protections of written work apply, namely copyright, trademark and patents. But at this time it remains to be seen how the courts will apply the current structure to this new technology. And it may not be for a couple of years until we see some answers come to light. Jones told us that a critical 3D IT patent case was filed in Minnesota in 2013 and is currently scheduled to be handled by the courts in 2015.  
In the meantime, she did suggest that we could look to what happened in the music space, especially around the time of Napster, where a lot of fines were being thrown around before the fusion in the market took place and new monetization models appeared, including streaming music companies.
Jones did give some advice for those designing in 3D. The first is to understand who their client is and what the client expects. If you are a designer who has been commissioned to design a vase for someone, you need to know who owns the right to that vase. Will you own the rights or is the expectation that those rights will be transferred to the client you are working for. The second is that you have to register the right with the patent office and the bigger and more complex the project is, the more you will want to get an attorney involved. 
Ultimately though, when it comes to designs, there is a lot of room for interpretation, Jones told us. The closest thing she can relate to 3D printable designs are cases where large retailers get sued by designers for supposedly stealing their patterns and making them for cheaper. Despite years of litigation, many of these cases have not ended up very successful for the designers who take action.
Patience Jones will be talking about “3D IP: Intellectual Property Issues for Innovators” at our upcoming conference in San Francisco this September. 
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This article is part of our featured speaker series for Designers of Things Conference which takes place September 23-24, 2014 at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, California. Get your VIP and Tech passes by clicking here.
 
 

Protecting 3D Printing Designs: Featured Speaker Patience Jones

As the consumer 3D printer space grows, so too are concerns about pirating of digital files which allow people to 3D print designs without the designers permission or any direct compensation for its use. In a way, the physical world is about to embark on a similar journey the media industry continues to struggle with in managing and monetizing products that have now gone digital. We sat down with Designers of Things speaker, Patience Jones, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law school to get glimpse into this topic which she will be also speaking about at the conference in September.  

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Analog Meets Digital with The Martian Notifier Smartwatch
If you love the look and dependability of the classic analog watch but want to gain the benefits of a smartwatch you will want to pay attention to Martian Watches. The company, best known for its Passport smartwatch, just recently launched a new line of round-faced smartwatches called the Martian Notifier. 
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The Notifier is a colorful analog watch with the bells and whistles of a smartwatch. The LED notification light lets you know when you have a message or a call. And the LED display actually lets you read messages when and notifications when they arrive. And it boasts 5-days of battery of the 2.0 features (the analog watch will last as long as a watch battery will take you which sometimes seems like forever - Martian says 2 years).
Check it out in all its glory in this slick vid we have for you below.

Analog Meets Digital with The Martian Notifier Smartwatch

If you love the look and dependability of the classic analog watch but want to gain the benefits of a smartwatch you will want to pay attention to Martian Watches. The company, best known for its Passport smartwatch, just recently launched a new line of round-faced smartwatches called the Martian Notifier. 

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Wearable Baby Monitor Sproutling Is Like an Egg Timer For Your Kid
A new baby wearable has hit the scene and this one intends to deliver valuable insights to help parents of newborns not just know there little one is safe but also tell them when he’ll wake up and even if he’ll be cranky when he does.
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Sproutling is a smart baby monitor that consists of a baby wearable band, smart charger and a mobile app. The band is equipped with sensors which track your baby’s movement, position, heart rate and skin temperature. The system communicates via a mobile app to let parents monitor their baby’s sleeping habits, predict sleeping conditions and know when something is wrong.
The wearable not just senses the baby but also its surroundings. If the baby room is getting too loud from ambient noise the parent will get an alert to let them know to turn things down. Over time Sproutling learns and can begin to estimate how long the baby will be asleep for and even the type of mood the little one is expected to be in when they awake.
The company is currently accepting pre-orders for the preview release of its baby wearable and have already sold out of over 50% of its stock. Preview buyers are able to grab this smart system for $249 with it expected to ship in March of next year. So great for expecting moms. Perhaps a little too late for those that are already thinking of getting a new bed for little Johnny. 

Wearable Baby Monitor Sproutling Is Like an Egg Timer For Your Kid

A new baby wearable has hit the scene and this one intends to deliver valuable insights to help parents of newborns not just know there little one is safe but also tell them when he’ll wake up and even if he’ll be cranky when he does.

Read More

Standalone Smartwatch, Neptune Pine, Now Shipping to Backers
Smartwatches are all the rage today but one of the complaints of this wrist-worn wearable is that it relies too much on your smartphone. Neptune Computer’s Pine is here to solve that. Like the Omate watch before it, the Pine is a standalone smartwatch which means that it can function fully without being dependent on a bluetooth connection to a smartphone in your pocket. Neptune smashed its Kickstarter goal back in December of last year and is now starting to ship to backers. 
[[MORE]]Neptune raised over $800,000 for what they are calling the “definitive all-in-one smartwatch”. The watch can do anything from taking voice calls, texting with a full keyboard, use of maps with GPS and even video chatting. It does this all without the need of a smartphone. All it needs is its own micro-SIM card and you are good to go. The watch even has a front facing and 5MP rear-facing camera to boot!
Late in July, Neptune sent an update out to its backers announcing that the first Wave of shipments were being sent. The first batch of Pines will be on the wrists of those in the US who indicated they wanted the device first and didn’t care if it had been treated for water resistance. Neptune indicated that all go-forward Pines outside of Wave 1 will be water resistant.
Late last week, Neptune announced that Wave 2 was on its way to fulfillment centres to send smartwatches to US, Canada and E.U. backers. Backers in this wave are expected to be sent tracking numbers over the next two weeks as they are being processed. 
Neptune is now accepting pre-orders for the Pine on its website for $349. Those who order Pine after January 1, 2014 are expected to receive their unit in October of this year. 

Standalone Smartwatch, Neptune Pine, Now Shipping to Backers

Smartwatches are all the rage today but one of the complaints of this wrist-worn wearable is that it relies too much on your smartphone. Neptune Computer’s Pine is here to solve that. Like the Omate watch before it, the Pine is a standalone smartwatch which means that it can function fully without being dependent on a bluetooth connection to a smartphone in your pocket. Neptune smashed its Kickstarter goal back in December of last year and is now starting to ship to backers. 

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Bringing On The Industrial Renaissance: Featured Speaker - Samir Shah

4 AXYZ is in the additive manufacturing business. But instead of printing with plastic, the company has developed technology which would allow them to create the first 3D printing machine to manufacture solid wood products. The company believes that a machine with this potential could radically shift the way we create and buy items crafted out of wood.  

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US Army Looking Into 3D Printed Food for Soldiers
Soldiers of the US army may soon be eating 3D printed food tailored to fit their nutritional needs. According to Army Magazine, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (or NSRDEC) is currently evaluating new methods of 3D printing which would allow soldiers to print pizzas to sandwiches with 3D printers equipped with ingredients they are either provided or, possibly in the future, items they have foraged in the field.
[[MORE]]One of the methods the Research Centre is assessing is the use of ultrasonic agglomeration, a process which shoots ultrasonic waves at particles to bind them together. Using this method, 3D printers would be able to create solid food in shapes you would expect, like a pizza looking like a pizza for example. This would drastically increase items on the military menu and could even reduce food costs because food could be printed on demand.
But the real benefit for NSRDEC is the ability to print food that is enhanced with nutrients which would be tailored to the particular dietary needs of the solider depending on their situation. “If you are lacking in a nutrient, you could add that nutrient. If you were lacking protein, you could add meat to a pizza,” Lauren Oleksyk, an NSRDEC researcher, told Army Magazine.
Food printing is already something that is being achieved in the 3D printing space but it is still very much in its infancy with most of the methods layering paste to create candy and edibles that need to be baked. Advancements in food printing spearheaded by the military could have far-reaching impacts on not just how we feed our soldiers but possibly how we feed our communities. We may all one day be heading to our 3D printers to cook up a family dinner.  
Source: Army Magazine via Motherboard/VICE

US Army Looking Into 3D Printed Food for Soldiers

Soldiers of the US army may soon be eating 3D printed food tailored to fit their nutritional needs. According to Army Magazine, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (or NSRDEC) is currently evaluating new methods of 3D printing which would allow soldiers to print pizzas to sandwiches with 3D printers equipped with ingredients they are either provided or, possibly in the future, items they have foraged in the field.

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Making Wearable Tech Tactile
The Creators Project is back with its Concept Video Series for wearables and this one is all about haptic feedback. This video features Wearable Experiments, a socially driven wearable technology company that is doing some incredible things with haptics to create new and meaningful experiences with wearables. The company is making clothing which not only expresses a sense of style but performs a particular function to enhance the experience. 
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One of these designs is the Navigate jacket. The jacket uses haptic feedback to indicate when the wearer should turn right, left or has arrived at their destination.  To the outside world, the jacket looks like a fashionable garment, but to the user its also a tool to help them make their way to a destination. 
Moving the tech into the background is important for Wearable Experiments. "Our message is that the tech always needs to be invisible. And you have to put the elegance of the garment first. And that means making it as human as possible," co-founder Billie Whitehouse explains in the video.
Wearable Experiments has also worked on projects which are taking the sports and music experience to the next level. Its Alert Shirt, for example, is a fan jersey which uses haptic feedback to let the wearer feel what their sports team is feeling. This example of wearable technology is aimed at taking the experience off the screen and into the physical environment to take everything to a whole new and extremely tactile level. 
Whitehouse goes into her design challenges and showcases some other work from Wearable Experiments in the complete video which we have for you below or you can hit the link here.

Making Wearable Tech Tactile

The Creators Project is back with its Concept Video Series for wearables and this one is all about haptic feedback. This video features Wearable Experiments, a socially driven wearable technology company that is doing some incredible things with haptics to create new and meaningful experiences with wearables. The company is making clothing which not only expresses a sense of style but performs a particular function to enhance the experience. 

Read More

Report Finds Businesses Evaluating 3D Printers, Few Using Them
3D printers have definitely gained a lot of attention this past year. These powerful maker machines have the potential to disrupt many industries but how many businesses are actively using them and for what? These are some of the questions Tech Pro Research asked to over 600 businesses in a study they did on “3D Printing: Benefits, Trends, Enterprise Applications”. 
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The report found that many businesses are evaluating the use of 3D printers but few are actively using them. In fact only 12% of the respondents indicated that they were using 3D printers at work. But despite the small number of organizations who are using them, most surveyed (48%) are evaluating them with 19% planning to implement 3D printers within the next 12 month. 40% of those surveyed said that they had no plans to implement or evaluate 3D printers for their business.  
Of those that are using 3D printers, most are using these machines for testing of ideas or concepts (73%) while prototyping (67%) and manufacturing of parts (40%) were also ways 3D printers were adding value to organizations.
For the 40% of businesses who are currently not considering 3D printing, Tech Pro Research found a lack of business need (66%) and lack of value proposition (27%) to be the reasons. They also identified that companies who do not perform engineering or manufacturing work do not see the benefit of these devices.

Report Finds Businesses Evaluating 3D Printers, Few Using Them

3D printers have definitely gained a lot of attention this past year. These powerful maker machines have the potential to disrupt many industries but how many businesses are actively using them and for what? These are some of the questions Tech Pro Research asked to over 600 businesses in a study they did on “3D Printing: Benefits, Trends, Enterprise Applications”. 

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The “Lego” of IoT, LittleBits, Coming to Radio Shack in August
Tinkering just got easier. Technology retailer, Radio Shack, will be piloting distribution of LittleBits in select stores in August. LittleBits is a modular electronic system that snap together with magnets making it easy to create workable electronics without the need to solder, wire or even program.
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The magnet connectors are a huge draw for the electronic kit as is the color coding they use on each module to make it easy to understand what the components do and how they should be put together. LittleBits uses a four color system to indicate which modules are for power, output, input or are wires and if you are stuck on ideas the kits come with starter projects to help you get making. As the LittleBits library currently has 264 modules, the sky is the limit to create inventions with this system, catering to young makers to engineers and agencies looking to rapid prototype. 
To connect creations made with LittleBits to the Internet of Things, LittleBits has introduced cloudBit. Like other modules, cloudBit connects to other modules in the LittleBits library using magnets. Once given a power source, it enables the creation to talk to the internet and vice versa. For programmers, LittleBits offers a cloud API or the LittleBits Arduino module for customization. But if that’s not your thing, they have also support automating services through IFTTT. This allows users to create inventions which trigger events on popular online services like Facebook, Instagram and hardware systems like NEST and Philips Hue.
For a limited time, LittleBits is offering its Cloud Starter Bundle for $99. The kit includes six modules, wall power and mounting boards and is ready to go create intro projects like building a remote pet feeder or modifying your doorbell to text you when someone is at your door.  
According to a report by Bloomberg, Radio Shack expects to roll out LittleBits in over 2,000 stores in the Fall and is just one of many inventions that it will stock its shelves with in an effort to re-invent the chain and increase sales.

The “Lego” of IoT, LittleBits, Coming to Radio Shack in August

Tinkering just got easier. Technology retailer, Radio Shack, will be piloting distribution of LittleBits in select stores in August. LittleBits is a modular electronic system that snap together with magnets making it easy to create workable electronics without the need to solder, wire or even program.

Read More