Make: Upcycle Something In Your House

Welcome to the Internet of Things track for #InventAnything. Today we’ll make something in your home “smart” using your nifty CloudBit and meet some other IoT makers. Let’s get started!

Design Challenge

How can you make your home smarter ?

  1. Consider your house from the point-of-view of your pet or an inanimate object. Is your cat bored? Is your Roomba sad?
  2. Create a project that improves the livelihood of that pet/thing and upcycles something in your house. (Think old wallets, floppy disks, plastic bottles, a plastic bottle–have at it!)

Inspiration, Examples and Support

Check out all the stellar projects that use the Smart Home Kit.

Project Page Favorites

Feed your pet, don’t let them get hungry! Check out the remote pet feeder:

See more:

Control your coffee pot from your bed with the Coffee Control Machine

Find out more:

Keep Track of Your Toilet Paper Inventory

Cute Bonus: Bristle Bot
In this littleBits project you attach a vibration motor to the head of a tooth brush to create your own robot! By adjusting the dimmer, you can control the movement of the little bot making him travel slowly and smoothly or quickly and in every direction!

See it in action:

Other Ideas

Tips and Tricks: Vibration Motor

Learn How to Use IFFT
IFFT (a service that stands for “if this, then that”) offers recipes that combine your Cloudbit, an object and you.

Check out “Tips and Tricks: Cloud Module” and “Tips and Tricks: IFFT”.

3 New IFFFT Apps

The company’s three new apps more closely integrate its automation with the core functions of your smartphone. Do Button, Do Note and Do Camera — all of which are for iOS and Android — allow users to create recipes around specific themes. But unlike the traditional IFTTT app, which is set up to constantly run in the background (i.e., “If there’s rain in the forecast, then send me an email the night before”) the Do apps’ recipes require users to initiate the recipe.

Your Fellow bitsters

Cory Cowgill, cough-logger, Chicago IL

I’m Cory Cowgill, a Technical Architect living in Chicago, IL. I’m a big Chicago Bears fan, enjoy playing Xbox 360, and have an addiction to Apple products as well as internet connectivity.

Andy Reed, Sonoma Maker, Sonoma, CA

Andy has been an inspiration for our community with his truly unique story. After a career in finance and high tech, Andy Reed decided to move back to Sonoma, California, with his family and purchase a six-acre farm. A true problem solver and maker at heart, Andy used littleBits to deal with a unique situation: he has a farm full of chickens, but he never knew whether they have the right amount of food. To find out, he or his daughters would have to walk all the way to the coop and inspect the feed. Watch the video below to see how Andy and his family rigged up a clever enclosure using the cloudBit to monitor his chicken feed from across the yard or from across the world!

Share Your Project

Upload your project to the littleBits Projects Page and post the link below. Make sure in your upload, you model a “reflective design process” and include:

  • The specific bits you used in the project
  • Reflect on what did you do 1st, 2nd and 3rd
  • List the resources you consulted to help others in the future

Remember this is a community who loves sharing work in progress :slight_smile: Don’t be shy to share your piece even if it is not finished yet and ask in the Project Buzz category in the forum for help.

Next Steps

1.2 Discuss: Big Data & Privacy, The Other Side of IoT

1.3.Team Up: Join the Weekly Community call to share your work, meet other bitsters and get advice from celebrity makers.


Hi there,

Our proposal for a design challenge with littleBits in the field of IoT, was inspired by the idea of creating a connection between nature and the human world. So starting from this project, made with Arduino, the idea was to create something similar using the Arduino bit and the cloud bit.

To support this challenge, it may be useful use design resources such as:



Do you think there is a way to get cloudbits to post on the forums?


@JackANDJude If I am not wrong the littleBits cloud module uses IFTTT to trigger actions from the module. You should check at IFTTT if there is already the “recipe” you are looking for - in your case the forum one - and if needed create a new recipe.

1 Like

I upcycled an old toy house and some random toys by attaching NFC (Near Field Communication) chips to them. When I place them over my NFC enabled smartphone, the smartphone sends #tagged SMS texts to An IFTTT recipe sends a specific % output out the cloudBit to the Arduino, which then does smart stuff.

Check out the project page here:

1 Like

@JackANDJude I love how each “character” has roles and responsibilities that all have certain triggers. I am going to make a noisy pet :smile:


… continued from Welcome to our forums! Please introduce yourself :slight_smile: in reply to @vanessa

Hi, @br1wr2el3. Nice to “meet” you. I posted a project today (see the smart playhouse #NFC link and video above) that combines the cloudBit with the Arduino module, and I hope you will find some inspiration from it for your Arduino / claw project idea.

If you have the smart home kit, you can add the ir transmitter and AC switch to make your garage light turn on from your car (cell phone).

1 Like

My project this week is . I was clearly inspired by the littlebits fish feeder project used to highlight the smart home kit. However, that project relied on pellet food for smooth operation. Our tetras, frog, and one guppy eat flake food, so I was having trouble deciding how to deliver the food while we were away.

Last night at dinner, inspiration struck: my 5 year old had made a conveyor belt with parts from our (massive) LEGO collection, and if I just brought that into the party, we’d be set. So, using the LEGO adapter to connect the motor to the axle of the conveyor belt, I just needed to connect the CloudBit, and we now have a super-simple remote fish feeder. Just press the CloudControl button for 3 seconds and the food dispenses. Pre-loading the conveyor is necessary.

The only issue I’m having with it is that sometimes the motor gets actuated by CloudControl, and just keeps going. I’m not sure how to monitor whether that is happening from afar… Ideas?


Was good to meet you all on the IoT hangout! :roller_coaster:

my three ideas from the video inspiration:

  1. wet food feeder
  2. litter box alert - will try the ir receiver and sound trigger, i got a bend sensor Im testing now (though issue currently is with the cloudbit part of the equation)
  3. sock dryer - fan and time outs, or could be a drink cooler but what would the smart version be…?

What about yours?

Kelly :grin:

1 Like

Here is mine
Laptop Closer

Hello @itchyfoots Kelly :slight_smile: I like the litter box alert- I know I could use one too…what issue are you encountering with the cloudbit?

Figured it out - there is a delay from when cloudbit it activated to it showing up in google drive via ifttt receipe. While testing some wouldn’t show up but thinking with delay that maybe triggering it too close together. Thanks!

In the olden days, I used really low tech to keep the dog off the furniture (like aluminum foil). Today, we can go high tech!

Dog Off the Couch!

littleBits really lends itself to a “rapid prototyping” design lifecycle… try something quickly for proof of concept, like I did with this, then refine it. I think learning about the design process can be helpful to people who aren’t sure where to start. You can use a traditional “waterfall” model (sequential: propose… specify… design… build… debug) or “spiral” (iterative: propose… build… refine… rebuild… refine… rebuild…).

1 Like

@chloeatplay: the cloudbit is back not working again. It just alternates between yellow and purple light [about ten second between each]. How to fix? Thank you

Hi @itchyfoots! oh no, sorry to hear :slight_smile: Please write at so you can egt some help from our customer support ninjas!

Hi Kelly! It sounds like your cloudBit is power-cycling.

It’s most likely trying to draw too much (either there are too many modules connected or you’re using wires or forks in front of the cloudBit).

Additionally, please make sure you’re using usb->wall adapter for power.

I’d like to hear more about your project (even if it is a work in progress) perhaps on the Project Buzz area of the forum:

You can post a new topic with your pics there, details, ideas, etc.

1 Like

@JackANDJude @chloeatplay nothing back from support yet but saw on another forum about adding in extra power. I’ve messaged @Patrick_littleBits in that forum for more detail.

I have it plugged into power outlet wall adaptor. The circuit then goes wire, sound trigger, wire, wire, bar graph light, cloudbit, led long light.

Will get my project up today, I should be able to make it on time for the call today too! :smile:


Hi everyone! I’m brand new to little bits so I just modeled by upcycle after the Remote Pet Feeder project. I didn’t have a lot of the materials that are show in the base, so I decided to upcycle a sturdy box. I am not strong enough to unscrew the servo to mount inside/outside the box so I just taped it to the top. My triggers are time and texting #feedkitty to ifttt This was soooo fun to make and see in action!!
[Remote Cat Feeder][1]


Cool, make, @Jjjllybean :slight_smile: . Your cat looked startled at first, but then decided it was a good thing. :smile_cat:

Can you please add this to the project page, and then share the link to that project here? Here are some pointers for posting to the project page.