Boson Kit Offers Coding-Free Electronic Building Blocks for Young STEM Learners
By Jennifer Allen On Pastemagazine | May 18, 2017 | 9:00am
There’s a growing trend of building blocks that are far more educational than meets the eye. While products such as Makeblock Neuron offer programmable electronic building blocks, other companies pride themselves on providing coding free options. One such firm is DFRobot with its Boson Kit. Recently launched on Kickstarter, the modular electronic building blocks require no coding, meaning they’re an ideal starting place for enthusiastic young builders.
The Boson Kit breaks down into simple, functional modules that are easy to connect together to turn into some cool projects. No coding or soldering is required, with built-in magnets slotting things together. It can even be used with screws, velcro and LEGO. A special Intel Curie module is available to give creations machine learning and pattern matching capabilities for extra flexibility.
Each module is color coded so it’s easy to see at a glance what they’re capable of. Input modules are blue, Output green, function yellow and power red. It’s the kind of simple interface that ensures kids will easily be able to get to grips with things.
We talked to Ricky Ye, CEO of DFRobot, to learn more.
“The inspiration for Boson Kit came from a global need to support in-depth STEM courses that are becoming part of core school curriculums,” Ye explains. “As this happens, teachers and parents alike are looking at hardware, specifically robotics, that provide a hands-on, fun, visual and engaging way to introduce these complex topics to young students.”
Pointing out that hardware is the best way to boost students’ understanding of STEM, Ye wanted a product that allowed students without prior knowledge to figure things out. “Boson Kit’s coding-free functionality allows [them] to take their imagination and apply it towards learning quickly and simply,” he says.
Free of the complexities of coding and programming, its potential is quite significant. The tool contains more than 50 different modules, each offering varying functions. As Ye explained, the Kit is fully compatible with creative learning community, Scratch, and it works with Intel Curie which provides gesture recognition and Bluetooth support.
The Boson kit comes with instructions to create several projects, including an adjustable lamp, a rain alarm, smart light lamp and a voice-controlled lamp. YouTube tutorials are also available on how to create your own walking robot, as well as an electronic candle. Expansion is expected, too, given DFRobot’s community previously bringing more than 100,000 creative projects alive.
“The mission for DFRobot is to empower creation,” Ye says. “We believe young creators can do much better if they are provided with the proper tools and guidance.”
“We also believe the power of interests supports a lifetime of learning,” he says. “To enlighten the interests of children, the best way is through playing with the physical world.”
With Ye explaining that the firm will “continue to develop new tools and contents for builders, both young and advanced,” the future looks pretty bright for those who want to get creative slightly differently than before.
A pledge of CA$53 gets you one Starter Kit with 10 blocks, with the price slowly rising depending on how many blocks you buy. An all-in-one kit will cost you CA$394 and includes 59 blocks. The campaign runs until June 24.