Minecraft‘s blocky and pixelated world has become the home of many an ingenious digital creations and recreations, like “to scale” model of iconic starships to actually (somewhat) working gigantic smartphones. But for all their awesomeness, they remain within realm of ones and zeroes. That is, until now. A company called littleBits has created the ultimate Minecraft mod. Called bitCraft, this mod and its accompanying physical, real world cloudBit boards and modules make it possible to turn the in-game redstone into catalysts for all kinds of real world hardware mods and inventions.
As something that bridges the digital and the physical, littleBits’ product is almost made up of those two parts. In the real, physical world, you have cloudBits, a set of electronics modules that you can connect together, quite easily thanks to magnets, to, for example, make a bulb light up or an alarm sound. And that’s just for the starter kit.
On the digital side you have the bitCraft Minecraft mod as well as in-game CloudBit gateways that you have to build like any other non-trivial contraption, which means taking materials and arranging them in a certain fashion. Once those two halves are set up in both worlds, all it takes is a few mouse clicks, and at least one right click, to make the magic happen.
The communication is bidirectional. You can effect a real world change in the cloudBit modules by doing something in Minecraft, like stepping on a plate or flicking a switch. Or you can make something happen in Minecraft by pushing a slider. So on the one hand, you can sound a real world alarm when someone enters your Minecraft home or fire a cannon by sliding a toggle.
Considering many Minecraft players are a creative and imaginative bunch, we can expect probably exciting, but hopefully safe, contraptions to flood YouTube once word of bitCraft gets out. And it’s not that pricey either. The starter kit costs only $99 though the Gizmos and Gadgets bundle does go for $259.99.