Real-time goal alert – littleBits cloudBit, IFTTT, Arduino

littleBits just launched their cloudBit product. This is Omkar’s first true IoT project that takes data from the cloud to activate something local. In this case, taking goal alerts from a twitter feed to light up LEDs whenever a goal is scored. littleBits cloudBit is truly the easiest way for anyone to make a internet of things project.

The cloudBit works with IFTTT (If This Then That), a cloud service for making ‘Recipes’ to trigger actions based on events. Essentially, you create a Recipe on IFTTT using the the littleBits ‘Channel’ and you have a means to send a signal to the cloudBit based on an event defined in the Recipe.

We had to do a bit of a hack to make this work in real-time as soon as a goal is scored. Most IFTTT recipes don’t trigger in real-time (it usually triggers in 15 minute cycles) except a few. One of the real-time ones is the Email recipe. So for this project we used a work around in order to trigger cloudBit via the Email recipe on IFTTT as illustrated in the video below.

This could be done more simply by writing a web app as well. However, for this project we’ve tried to make it work without any web coding. Some Arduino programming is used to show a more meaningful alert on the device with sounds (though it is not essential to do any coding to make something similar).

Notes and acknowledgements:

  • Thanks to littleBits for choosing us for a early Beta trial of the cloudBit. This project was done during the Worldcup. But we couldn’t publish it before the launch of the cloudBit product.
  • Thanks to  Andy Jiang who created a twitter feed of Worldcup goal alerts that we were able to use as data feed for this project.
  • The goals and alerts shown in the videos are live alerts recording during live game broadcasts.
  • The first video shows a version of this project with the Adafruit Neopixel strip.
  • The project details are available on the littleBits project page.

2014 Maker Faire – year of the kid maker

Just got back from attending the Maker Faire 2014 in SF Bay Area. This was our 3rd Maker Faire and as in the past years we wished we had more time there.

The 2012 Maker Faire and an article on Popular Science about 12 year old entrepreneur Quin Etnyre sparked my son’s interest in making. So certainly the big highlight of the day was meeting Quin himself in person who was generous with his time and goodies. Be sure to check out his company website for his kid friendly Arduino products.


The second highlight was the encounter with Spark Core team at their booth. They were so super awesome in recognizing my son from his last video and showered him with praises, encouragement and goodies (even a new Spark Core!). Plus he got to meet their CEO Zach Supalla who was really nice to offer encouragement and support. Thanks guys – we promise to make some cool projects with the 2 Spark Cores soon.

A few other kits that he was really interested in were:

Except the Phoenard all the others look like good kits for young kids to get started, though he said the Phoneard was the coolest thing he saw at the show. The best part was seeing exhibits from many young makers including these 12 year olds:

…sure feels like year of the kid maker!