They came from all over the world to compete in a contest of skill and effort, but only a few would rise to the top of the BitOlympics. This year, that elite group included two McLoughlin Middle School students: seventh-graders Luke Seeley and Connor O’Keefe, who claimed the silver medal.
The international competition challenged inventors to develop a real or imaginary sport using littleBits—magnetically connecting electronic building blocks. Think Legos meet electronics meet robotics. “They really open up the possibility of things like coding for kids,” said Luke.
LittleBits fans all over the world submitted approximately 170 projects. Luke and Connor developed three projects over the summer for their first littleBits competition: a miniature golf course; miniature soccer field; and a scaled-up soccer field, which won second place.
Despite discovering littleBits less than a year ago, the boys believe they had a competitive advantage. Both previously participated in MESA, an after-school math, science and technology program. The seventh-graders plan to expand their technical knowledge this year by participating in the VEX Robotics program.
Connor and Luke also will continue tinkering with littleBits, using the new parts that they received in their prize winnings. Next up for the young inventors: a remote-controlled car that can be commanded from a smartphone or computer.
They’re excited by the possibilities. Said Connor, “You have something in your head, and you get to see it come to life. I like to see all the things that we create.”