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LittleBits Fuse

How Cuttlesoft helped make toys, kids, and code all play nice together in Fuse, an app that allows kids to add fun capabilities to the toys and robots they invent

The Challenge

Integrate Microsoft MakeCode, an open source learn-to-code platform into the LittleBits Fuse application. This feature would give little inventors the power to program their LittleBits' projects, creations, and simulate circuits. Including a drag-and-drop tool for programming logic like loops, conditionals, and managing IO.

What we did

We teamed up with the development team at Sphero LittleBits to first research MakeCode's functionality and determine if it was the right tool to incorporate in LittleBits Fuse. After deciding that MakeCode would deliver the user experience and functionality we needed, we dug deep into the source code to understand how many changes were required to complete the integration. Luckily the overall changes we made to MakeCode were minimal, giving the Sphero LittleBits development team what they needed, without a high maintenance burden or creating any technical debt.


  • React web application integration with MakeCode

Web Application Development



Make toys, kids, and code all play nice together

A clear plastic sphere sits on the floor, motionless. Inside the sphere, circuits, lights, and wires lie dormant. A nine-year-old boy is lying beside it, staring at it intently, expectantly. He looks back at the screen of a tablet that’s on the floor in front of him. Back at the sphere. Nothing. He concentrates, makes a few taps on the screen, and suddenly the sphere whirs to life, takes off and zips across the room. Success at last! For the boy, it’s a small moment of discovery, a sense of satisfaction, and just a little more confidence for the next day’s challenges.

These moments are the reason Sphero exists. Sphero is the maker of littleBits, a line of programmable robots and educational tools designed to inspire and educate tomorrow’s creators. When they approached us to help integrate Microsoft’s open source platform MakeCode into their environment, we could hardly contain ourselves. As a team of passionate coders, we’ve all been that child, experiencing that excitement, and the prospect of seeing our work come to life in a tangible way was thrilling.

We couldn’t wait to get to work!

But the question was, “will it work?”

Sphero, most famous for its development of BB-8, the wildly popular Star Wars toy, needed to provide greater interaction between the software and the physical modular toys they were developing, and they weren’t sure if it was even possible.

What Sphero needed was a dedicated team to deep dive into MakeCode and determine if the functionality they were looking for was even feasible. They needed seasoned mid and senior-level developers to work hand-in-hand with their teams, moving back and forth between leadership, partnership, and consulting roles, depending on the needs of the day. They needed a company they could trust with a project that was incredibly important to them. This was their baby, and the fit needed to be right.

They found all of the above with Cuttlesoft.

They found it all with Cuttlesoft.

The first thing we did was sit down with their development teams to listen and learn. Their overall vision for the product and the problems they faced became our vision, and our problems. We weren’t sure if there was a solution yet but we knew that if there was, we were going to find it.

Cuttlesoft dove in and became experts at MakeCode. We identified the sticking points and quickly determined that yes, the functionality Sphero wanted from MakeCode was possible.

We worked hand in hand with the Sphero team to modify MakeCode, smoothing out workflow snags, and developing engineering best practices along the way. This proved to be crucial. Organizing a project with this many moving pieces in Sphero’s demanding startup environment was no small feat.

Having a partner, like Cuttlesoft, that can mesh well with the internal team is key!

Having a partner, like Cuttlesoft, that can mesh well with the internal team is key!
John Perkins
Director of Software Development


We developed an elegant solution that encompassed all the components Sphero wanted to customize. The overall changes we made to MakeCode were minimal, giving them the functionality and control they wanted without being too invasive. Not only did we solve their most immediate problems, we created a foundation that gave them the freedom, know-how, and infrastructure to do their own customizations in the future.

With a robust, flexible platform and a newly-empowered team of developers, Sphero went on to create Fuse, a highly intuitive app that allows kids to add fun capabilities to the toys and robots they invent and helps them to become the problem solvers of tomorrow.



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