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LittleBits, Componenti elettronici di base
|Tutti i prezzi includono l'IVA.|
- Crea un circuito con luce, tono, sensori e schaltknoepfen senza cablare, saldatura o programmare
- Include 10 moduli come motore CC, sensore di luce, ecc.
- Include istruzioni con otto progetti e molti altri sono disponibili online
- Costruire senza errori in oltre 150000 combinazioni possibili
- Compatibile con tutti gli altri moduli di littleBits e attrezzature
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All of this introduction brings me to "Little Bits". I gave this set to my 6 year old and 8 year old to play with, starting with the 8 year old. He loves his Elenco Snap Circuits SC-750R Student Training Program, and makes all sorts of cool things, so I thought he would be the best to evaluate it.
When you open the box, you are ready to go. The high quality box has a magnetic flap for closure, and inside is a full color glossy manual and all of the "little bits". Each of the little bits has only an input and and output, so no multiple connections or wires to make. There are blue (for power), pink (for control), orange (wires), and green (for actions).
You get a custom printed 9V battery (no searching for batteries - thank you!), and a bunch of modules. There is 1 power module. This module has a plug for the 9V battery, a switch, and a red indicator LED. For you engineers, the module has an ST LD1117 linear regulator on it.
There are 3 pink control modules, a button, a light sensor, and a dimmer. I really do wish they would use the technical term instead of the popular one on these modules. For instance, the button module is a simple on-off button. Why not call it a switch? The dimmer module is a potentiometer/variable resistor. The toy is so easy to use, why not let kids learn the right terms while they play? The light sensor is a nice little device (though they could have called it a photodetector or photodiode). The light sensor module has a switch to let it reach to light or dark, and a small potentiometer to adjust the sensitivity. This is rather weakly executed because you need the tiny screwdriver (included) to adjust the sensitivity. My 6 year old had some trouble with dexterity adjusting it. These are also easy to break (believe me), so if the toy is designed to be simple, this could be a weak link.
There are wire modules which enable you to extend the circuit. This is a nice feature because you can actually wire the little bits into funny circuits like hand buzzers, artwork like windmills, flashlights, robots, etc. You get 2 wire modules which can be added anywhere in the chain.
For action, you get a bright LED, a bar graph, a buzzer, and a DC motor. I'm glad they didn't call the bright LED a "shiny light" or the DC motor "spinning thing" - they actually used the right term (unlike the sensors). The bright LED is good for flashlights, and the bar graph is nice to use as a current meter to see visually how much current is being supplied after the potentiometer to your creations. The buzzer is quite annoying - your kids will love it. The DC motor is rather slow, but seems to work well for various projects. There is a "motor mate" which allows you to connect the motor to a LEGO axle or other things. This enables you to build cool larger projects that move, a great idea.
Each of the bits magnetically click together so they cannot be put together incorrectly (they repel if connected backwards). You start at Blue (power), pick control (pink), and anything after the control is affected by it (green). So if you chain goes Power - LED - Switch, then the LED will always be on. But if it goes Power - Switch - LED, then the LED is controlled by the switch. You don't need to terminate the end as the modules hook in parallel (except for things controlled by the pink modules). It really is foolproof.
There are a bunch of fun projects in the kit such as light controlled vehicles, doorbell, windmill, etc. Most require some arts and crafts beyond just the kit (some cardboard, tape, cutting, glue, etc).
I had decided to leave the ultimate verdict to my kids. My 8 year old tired of it quickly. He said that his Snap Circuits teaches him more about electronics, lets him change resistance and capacitance to see the change, and has more possibilities. My 6 year old has difficulty building the large Snap Circuits creations, so this was fun for him to get involved in the electronics of his older brother without the frustration. He has been playing with it for hours, grabbing cardboard to build a car so he car so he can attach it to the motor, etc. He emphatically gave it 5 stars.
However, I'm the parent and educator, so overall, I give it 4 stars. The entire kid is a quality production and is fun for a while, but older kids may tire of it quickly. The portable nature (unlike snap circuits) means you can build cool portable toys like hand buzzers and robots, but the modular nature means you won't learn much about resistors, capacitors, diodes, etc. As my friend observed about Arduino, you may blink an LED with a million transistors, but can't do it with 1. I also have a tough time with the cost compared to Snap Circuits (which you should also consider). This is the "basic" kit, but still costs $100. I can honestly say that while my 6 year old likes it and it is well done, it is not educational enough that I would have ever purchased this myself, and I don't intend to buy more of them.
Apart from addressing the high cost, I would suggest the designers find subtle ways to include lessons about what the kid is actually doing into the kit. For instance, silkscreen the schematic symbol of each major component on the board. Rename the modules with their technical terms. Put some explanation in the manual as to how the circuits work and why they work. Kids shouldn't just build things, but understand what they built. This is the biggest problem with many of these kid science and STEM activities in general - I see kids building all sorts of stuff not knowing. They build great projects but have no clue how they actually work. I would hope that if time was spent in an activity, the kid should learn something from it.
Overall, I have to say that while I personally wouldn't buy this again, there are plenty of people who will be quite happy with this kit as a fun toy. It is high quality and works quite well, so I am giving it a positive rating of 4 stars. It might be just the thing you are looking for (indeed, not everyone even wants the complexity of Snap Circuits), so read my review and if it sounds like it's for you, then I'm sure your kids will enjoy it.
Snap Circuits are much more geeky - the manual is overly technical for young kids (under 10), but good for slightly older kids who really want to grasp the concepts of electrical circuits. And they're way cheaper. I have a full review of both on my blog Inventors of Tomorrow.