Earlier in the school year, I came across two exciting kickstarter projects.
If you’ve never come across crowdfunding before, it’s well worth browsing through both kickstarter and indiegogo to get a feel for the range of projects and the level of enthusiasm of both the starters and backers. I’ll do a separate post on the topic of crowdfunding later.
Both the projects offered a low-cost, affordable route into Arduino-based robotics development that teachers might want to investigate. What grabbed my attention however, was that both projects were also open source. In other words, if you find you’re short of a part, you can download the plans and quickly fabricate a replacement. No need to worry about license fees or buying a much larger expansion kit. If you need to, you can modify the original file and print/burn your own custom parts; share your ideas over the internet and not worry about an angry solicitor’s letter dropping through your letterbox.
That, to me is far more revolutionary than designing a gun.
The two products were Multiplo and Makeblock. Each one deserves a post in its own right. Both have their fair share of advantages and disadvantages.
I’ll have a set of each out on display for teachers to play with at Scratch in Control on May 18. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Lego as a robotics platform that integrates with Arduino, come along and experiment!