Google shows Bloks Project: tangible program for children

Jun

28

2016

Google Research together with IDEO and Stanford University are developing a way that children literally get more feeling programming tasks. Project Bloks’ is an open hardware platform that allows children to physically program.

Before that researchers, developers, designers and educators can work together to develop a global program which physical blocks in many different forms possible. To show what the idea is in the system, there is a working prototype designed , among other things, based on a Raspberry Pi Zero.

The system is so constituted that anyone who can hold a soldering iron, can make their own version. The system consists of three components: the ‘Brain Board “, the” Base Boards’ and the’ Pucks. coupled to each other, the whole constitutes an instruction set. This set can be forwarded via wifi or bluetooth to various devices, such as physical toys or a tablet.

project Bloks

The pucks provide the circuits that can be programmed in different ways. For example, they can be given an instruction as “on or off” “turn left” or “spring”. It is also the designers to imagine how those pucks look. Because pucks do not require active electronics, it is easy to make them yourself. The cheapest, simplest way is according to Google Research Blog a piece of paper with conductive ink.

A puck is placed on a “base board” and which can be so read out the instructions of the puck by means of a capacitive sensor. Puck instruction goes through a baseboard to the brain board. The base boards can be coupled to each other in various ways. Feedback from the baseboards coming through a vibrating motor and LEDs. The brain board is also a speaker for feedback. Energy get the baseboards through the brain board.

The first prototype works together with LEGO WeDo 2.0 or Mirobot sign robot and is aimed at children between five and eight years. There is also a paper available and interested developers, teachers or parents can specify via a registration page.

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