Your comments have really got me thinking here.
What components would WE want? That one is VERY clear to me!
But first, let me explain my plan for my project. My immediate goal is the following: I want my daughter to be able to wave her wand by Christmas time, and have it turn on and off the lights on the tree. Also, I want to have a second type of movement that makes the star on top spin!
The current architecture I have planned would be the following:
- An infrared LED on the tip of the wand to emit a steady IR light. I was hoping to use an IR array from a night vision camera I borrowed, reflected off the tip, but in testing, it doesn't seem to be enough light. For the LED, I'm thinking a watch batter with an LED in a simple small casing, and a small button, will have to do.
- A wiimote connected to a PC that reads the signal, as per the project you suggested, @JackANDJude - thanks for the excellent tip!
- Some simple software in C# and/or Python to interpret the wand movements (more on this below). When a relevant movement is detected, the software will call out to the API for the cloudBit component.
- A circuit connected via the cloudBit, preferably to the Arduino component. I have one, but I haven't studied how it works yet. The next step, then, is based on some naive assumptions about the Arduino.
- Based on the input to the cloudBit (the only "parameter" seems to be voltage % - would it be possible to use that value to determine the next step?), an output signal is sent to the appropriate circuit (e.g. turn on/off the lights for one movement, or turn on the star for the other)
- The lights circuit would be connected to a simple Christmas light string on the tree that takes regular DC batteries (3 AA, or 4.5V)
- The star circuit would use the motor to spin the star, either using the timeout bit, or just via software
Getting back to what kind of bits we would WANT, for me the main thing I want to be able to do is to be able to play with "normal" external circuits (in this case, the Xmas lights). I don't see a standard way to do this. The easiest way would be to take a wire bit and cut off one end, then use those wires to connect to any external 9V DC circuit. What I'd really like to see is an adapter bit that would let you plug in a littleBits circuit as if it were a battery. Then I would be able to control electronics via littleBits circuits of my own invention. As it stands, I ended up doing my best to make my own littleBits interface using a piece of tossed out plastic, some squares cut off the lid of a tin can (to work with the magnets), some super glue, and some wires (I'll post online when it's done and working).
Even cooler would be a bit to interface with AC circuits! Although I imagine that would not only be bulky and expensive, but dangerous.
Working on the littleBit interface piece, it occurred to me that this would be the PERFECT opportunity for a 3D printer! Imagine being able to print a plastic square with the right shape to interface with littleBits, and hollow centers through with you could pass some thin wires to connect with the V / S / G lines.