If this video isn't totally inspirational, I don't know what is. An idea for a coffeemaker is drawn, and immediately prototyped in foam/cardboard and an electronic components kit to make an interactive prototype. I know its timelapse, but if only all prototyping could happen so quickly and intuitively as the video suggests!
This is of course made possible by littlebits, a rapid electronic prototyping platform developed by Ayah Bdeir and Jeff Hoefs, supported by Smart Design and Eyebeam Openlab (those responsible for LED throwies and general graffiti research). From the littleBits site:
"littleBits is an opensource library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. Just as Legos allow you to create complex structures with very little engineering knowledge, littleBits are simple, intuitive, space-sensitive blocks that make prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together."
Image from Make
As Make pointed out of the early prototypes, the beauty of littleBits is that the connectors are magnetic, meaning that a) they plug together almost of their own accord, and b) they automatically connect in the correct polarity, electrical and magnetic. Slick.
littleBits is still in development but there are three videos up demonstrating the early prototype, including this one in which 4 industrial designers prototype four objects in about 25 minutes. Can't wait. Did I mention the whole thing will be open source?