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littleBits Releases MIDI and USB I/O Modules, Connects Analog and Digital Instruments


LittleBits, purveyors of the simple-to-use electronic components with magnetic connectors, is releasing some brand new bits to expand its music capabilities: a MIDI module, a USB I/O module, and a CV module. Musical makers now have the ability to connect their littleBits Synth Kit to any musical equipment they want!

In collaboration with KORG, littleBits launched their Synth Kit back in November 2013. The littleBits Synth Kit allows anyone to make an analog instrument right out of the box and hook it up to a computer, amplifier, or headphones. In an effort to create harmony (pun intended) between analog and digital worlds. These latest bits connect directly into the Synth Kit world to push those capabilities even further.

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Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, is a protocol that allows electric instruments and other digital musical tools to communicate with each other. The littleBits MIDI module allows you to control your littleBits circuit via MIDI-enabled instruments and software. Since the littleBits MIDI module can send and receive MIDI messages, you can also do the reverse: use littleBits modules to create a MIDI controller. This works by converting littleBits voltage signals into MIDI messages, and MIDI OUT is available via USB connection.

The USB I/O module delivers what the name implies: input and output for digital audio. This allows you to record whatever you’d like, whether it’s your hottest new track, an experimental jam, or a remix of your favorite song from iTunes.

The CV (Control Voltage) module was designed with the pros in mind. You’ll need an analog synthesizer to use with this bit, as it is essentially a module that can act as a control center for that analog synth.

These modules are compatible with all other littleBits modules, so ambitious folks will find endless combinations to satisfy all of their music- and circuitry-making goals.

littleBitsbookAnd don’t miss the recently announced new book from Maker Media, Getting Started with littleBits, that will help people of all ages jump into this approachable circuitry system. Color-coded, modular pieces make the process of building circuits, robots, and other interactive projects very intuitive. With no need for soldering, wiring, or programming, littleBits is super simple.

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Sophia is the managing editor of the Make: blog. When she’s not greasing editorial gears, she likes to run, ride, climb, and lift things, and make lo-tech goods like zines, desserts, and altered clothing. @sophiuhcamille

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