Pixel Pals Educational Electronics Kit – Integrated Learning Tool

Chip – the first in a line of beginner friendly products debuts on Kickstarter

Chip, a Pixel Pals educational electronics kit, is the first in a line of beginner friendly products that goes beyond learning soldering skills. He can be incorporated into Arduino based projects as well as using the Pixel Power board in e-textiles. The kits are designed to be multifunctional, yet affordable.


The first character, Chip featured in this Kickstarter campaign, focusses on LEDs and basic circuitry. Once soldered, it can standalone with the Pixel Power board and serve as a fun toy or light. Chip can also plug into an Arduino Uno Rev 3 or into a breadboard where Chip can be incorporated into more advanced electronic projects or programming lessons.

Soldering Sunday created the Pixel Pals soldering kits to fill the gap between introductory and advanced projects. Each Pixel Pal will focus on a particular electronics component which will require soldering; but are Arduino compatible so that they can be programmed for other projects are used.

The kits are also designed to be affordable for organizations and parents who want to encourage STEAM education but are hindered by the large price tag of many existing educational products. The Kickstarter campaign, if successful, will help keep the production costs down.

Kickstarter is an all or nothing proposition. Soldering Sunday hopes to reach its goal of $2,500 to cover mass production cost of the Chip, Pixel Pal Soldering kit. The project runs from
November 3 to December 3, 2014.

To keep up to date with the project, follow Soldering Sunday on Twitter (@SolderingSunday), Facebook (www.facebook.com/SolderingSunday) or on their website (www.solderingsunday.com)

Also consider visiting the project on Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com/projects/solderingsunday/chip-an-electronics-kit-with-character) donating $1 on Kickstarter to receive updates.
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Dynepic® to Launch Internet of Toys™ Platform & Debut Product on Kickstarter: 15 November

Dynepic® is pleased to debut the future of toys with our premier device, the DynePod™, which will launch 15 November on Kickstarter.com.  DynePods™ operate on The Internet of Toys™ (IoToys), Dynepic’s state-of-the-art open platform designed to share cloud content and connect toys, merging elements of child’s play and technology to enable children to interact with their toys in revolutionary and modern ways.

The DynePod™ is an educational, Bluetooth connected toy designed to introduce fundamental concepts of customization, socialization, programming and engineering, by allowing children to create their own interactive programs for their toys. Using a graphical If, Then programming interface, developed under contract with the National Science Foundation, children can create a multitude of unique, useful programs that involve both the digital and physical world.  DynePods™ are modular, fully customizable toys that are compatible with a multitude of self-designed and 3D printed accessories, encouraging the next generation to start innovating.  Enabled by the Internet of Toys™ platform, DynePods™ can morph and grow with the child through cloud updates, as well as connect wirelessly with other DynePods™ and a host of other future toys linked to the platform.

“DynePods™ and The Internet of Toys™ platform will enable new play patterns and encourage open-ended exploration for the future of toys, for children, makers, and toy inventors alike,” Krissa Watry, Dynepic’s Co-Founder & CEO, comments.  ”We hope you will join us by supporting DynePods™ and the Internet of Toys on Kickstarter, 15 November.” For more information on how Dynepic is working to build the COOL aisle for toys, please visit our website www.dynepic.com or contact us at info@dynepic.com. A Press kit is available.

Founded in 2011, Dynepic® is focused on building cool connected toys and an open architecture and cloud platform to drive child friendly content in new and innovative ways. Dynepic® is a women owned, veteran owned, small business focused on creating the Internet of Toys™.  

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Open Roberta – Programmieren ist ein Kinderspiel

Unter dem Motto »Jeder kann programmieren – mit Open Roberta!« stellen Fraunhofer-Experten heute ihre neue, internetbasierte Programmierplattform »Open Roberta« vor. Kostenlos und interaktiv können Schülerinnen und Schüler eigene Programme für Roboter erstellen und mit anderen teilen. Diese offene Lernumgebung soll mehr Mädchen und Jungen für Technik begeistern. Sie entsteht in Partnerschaft mit Google und unter der Schirmherrschaft des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung BMBF.

Intelligente Roboter, selbstfahrende Autos, Smartphones als Assistenten des Menschen – in unserer Gesellschaft sind digitale Technologien allgegenwärtig. »Um unsere digitale Welt zu gestalten, brauchen wir kluge Köpfe – junge Menschen, die Technik verstehen, Software programmieren und innovative Lösungen finden. Ich freue mich, dass heute dieses spannende und vielseitige Projekt startet«, sagt Prof. Dr. Alexander Kurz, Fraunhofer-Vorstand für Personal, Recht und Verwertung.

Das Projekt erweitert die Fraunhofer-Initiative »Roberta – Lernen mit Robotern«, die Kinder und Jugendliche spielerisch an Naturwissenschaften und Technik heranführt. »Open Roberta verbindet das erfolgreiche, pädagogische Roberta-Konzept mit einer innovativen technischen Lernumgebung, die das Programmieren lernen leicht macht und offen ist für spannende, kreative Experimente«, sagt Prof. Dr. Stefan Wrobel, Leiter des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Intelligente Analyse- und Informationssysteme IAIS. Die IAIS-Experten entwickeln Open Roberta mit Unterstützung von Google. Das Unternehmen hat für das Projekt eine Million Euro für zwei Jahre bereit gestellt. »Google setzt sich seit vielen Jahren und mit vielen Initiativen für die Förderung von Informatik in Bildung und Ausbildung sowie von Open-Source-Software ein. Wir freuen uns sehr, unser Engagement mit Open Roberta auf eine noch breitere Basis zu stellen«, erläutert Google-Entwicklungschef Dr. Wieland Holfelder das Engagement des IT-Konzerns.

Jeder kann programmieren – mit »Open Roberta«

Im Projekt »Open Roberta« entwickeln die Fraunhofer-Forscher eine frei verfügbare, cloudbasierte grafische Software, die Kindern und Jugendlichen mit Spaß und ohne technische Hürden das Programmieren ermöglicht – von ersten Programmierschritten bis hin zur Entwicklung intelligenter LEGO MINDSTORMS Roboter mit vielerlei Sensoren und Fähigkeiten. Dabei spielt es zukünftig keine Rolle, ob man vom Computer, Tablet oder Smartphone aus auf die Plattform zugreift. Sie lässt sich einfach über den Internetbrowser aufrufen, speichert die geschriebenen Programme in der Cloud und macht aufwändige Software-Updates überflüssig. Davon profitieren besonders Schulen, da deren IT-Wartung häufig mit großem administrativem Aufwand verbunden ist und viele Einrichtungen oftmals nicht über ausreichende Mittel für leistungsstarke Rechner verfügen. Die internetbasierte Software wird es auch ermöglichen, sowohl in der Schule als auch zuhause an eigenen Programmen zu arbeiten, sie mit anderen zu teilen und sie unabhängig von Ort und Zeit gemeinsam weiterzuentwickeln. Für Lehrkräfte stehen demnächst Tutorials für die Arbeit mit Open Roberta bereit, die auf die unterschiedlichen Interessen von Mädchen und Jungen eingehen.

Der Nachwuchs von heute programmiert für den Nachwuchs von morgen

Die Open-Roberta-Software ist zur Zeit im Beta-Stadium und wird Open Source weiterentwickelt. Im nächsten Schritt beziehen die IT-Experten vom IAIS Lehrkräfte, IT- und Bildungsexperten aus dem Roberta-Netzwerk sowie Hochschulen und ihre Studierenden aktiv in die Entwicklungsarbeiten ein. »Somit stärkt das Projekt gleichzeitig die Zusammenarbeit mit Hochschulen und fördert die praktische Programmiererfahrung von Studierenden«, erläutert Wrobel. Mitte 2015 wird die Software ohne Einschränkungen für alle zugänglich sein und sich zum Beispiel um die Programmierung weiterer Robotersysteme erweitern lassen. Sowohl die Software als auch die Open-Source-Entwicklertools stehen über Fraunhofer-Server bereit. Zudem können Schülerinnen und Schüler aus ganz Deutschland über Ideenworkshops und Wettbewerbe aktiv die Open-Roberta-Programmierumgebung mitgestalten.

Im Kontext von Open Roberta führt das Fraunhofer IAIS auch seine langjährige Zusammenarbeit mit LEGO Education fort. LEGO Education stellt 160 Roberta-Baukästen für die weitere Verbreitung von Open Roberta in den Bundesländern zur Verfügung. In Zusammenarbeit mit der Initiative »Jeder kann programmieren. Start Coding« und der Initiative D21 stellen die Kooperationspartner ihr Projekt am 4. November 2014 in Berlin erstmals der Öffentlichkeit vor.

Die Initiative »Roberta – Lernen mit Robotern«

»Roberta – Lernen mit Robotern« ist ein Bildungsprogramm, das Kinder und Jugendliche bereits seit über zehn Jahren für Naturwissenschaften und Technik begeistert. Es wurde 2002 durch das IAIS und mit Förderung des BMBF ins Leben gerufen. Jährlich erreicht die Roberta-Initiative in über 800 dokumentierten Roberta-Kursen mehr als 30 000 Kinder und Jugendliche. Ein umfassendes Schulungskonzept sowie gendergerechte Lehr- und Lernmaterialien unterstützen Lehrkräfte dabei, naturwissenschaftlich-technische Themen spielerisch zu vermitteln. Regionale RobertaRegioZentren sowie zertifizierte Roberta-Teacher bilden ein europäisches Netzwerk für den Erfahrungsaustausch und die Weiterentwicklung des Roberta-Konzepts.

Weitere Informationen:

www.open-roberta.org

www.roberta-home.de

www.google.org

education.lego.com

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Mindboards forums are back!

If you receive a mail like the following below, don’t panic, it’s not a phishing expedition by some ruthless hacker.  You’re seeing the fruits of the hard labour that Sebastian Trella has done to resurrect the Mindboards forums.  Please spread the news on your blog, if you have one.

Dear mindboards.net forum member:

The MindBOARDS forums have finally been moved to a new site and are operational again! In order to login to the forums on the new site you will need to do two things. 

First, go to http://forums.mindboards.net/. You should be redirected to the new hosting site which has URL = https://mindboards.trella.biz/. Click the Login link near the top right corner. On the login page click the “I forgot my password” link. On the Send password page type in your sourceforge username and the email address associated with your forum account.  This may be your username followed by @users.sourceforge.net or it might be another email address that you associated with your forums.mindboards.net account. You will get a message stating “the e-mail/username information submitted could not be found” If the values you enter do not match an existing MindBOARDS account. Otherwise you should receive an email with a link to reset your password. This email will contain a new password that you can use to login after you click on the link in your email to activate it.

Second, go to http://forums.mindboards.net/. Click the Login link near the top right corner. Enter your MindBOARDS username and the password from the email you received in the previous step. Once you successfully login, click the User Control Panel link near the top left corner of the page. On the User Control Panel page click the Profile tab. Then click the “Edit account settings” option on the left (the fourth item in the list). Here you can change your email address from username@users.sourceforge.net (if needed) to another email address of your choosing.  You will have to confirm that change by entering the new email address twice. You can also enter and confirm a new password. Finally, you will have to enter the “current password” from the email you received in order to save these changes. After you successfully save these changes you will have to reactivate your account. You should receive an email sent to the email address you entered on this page containing a link that will reactivate your account.

We hope to see you active in the newly reactivated MindBOARDS forums soon!

The MindBOARDS team

So don’t delay!  Sign up and we’ll see you there!

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15-foot-tall robots coming to a reality near you!

Boston-based engineers developing humanoid robots meant to be piloted by two people

BOSTON, MASS. — Three engineers are leading a team building fifteen-foot-tall, fighting humanoid robots in Boston, Mass., and they are asking the public for help to pull it off. It might sound like science fiction, but it’s not.
Experienced and talented engineers and entrepreneurs Andrew Stroup, Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein have teamed up to turn these robots into reality. At the end of October, they will launch a Kickstarter campaign to take things to the next level.
“People keep asking us, ‘Why build giant fighting robots?’” said Andrew Stroup, Co-Founder of MegaBots, Inc. “Our answer is always, ‘Why not?’” All three were raised on video games, movies and science fiction stories that included giant robots, and decided that it was time to turn their skills to good use.
Since the start of summer, they have built a fully functional torso, cockpit, arm, and two main weapons system of a MegaBot. The cockpit seats two adults, a driver who controls the robot’s movements and the gunner who commands the weapons systems.
“Having the MegaBot aim its cannon at you is a heart-stopping experience,” Gui Cavalcanti, Co-Founder 
of MegaBots, Inc. described. “Even if you know it’s not loaded. Here’s this gigantic, armored humanoid robot three times taller than you are, smoothly and quietly lining up its sights on you – it’s downright terrifying.”
The MegaBots team has completed parts of the dream. Soon, they will ask the public for help with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign. 
“There’s no doubt we want to bring MegaBots to the masses,” Matt Oehrlein, Co-Founder of MegaBots, Inc., proclaimed. “We want to know they want it to happen as bad as we do.”
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PBL ROBOTS dice & card game

William Hessian and John “Sighless” Supinski have spent the last year creating a brand new strategy card and dice game called PBL ROBOTS! “The game is a interesting mix of Risk and Magic the Gathering, except this game has giant 100 foot Robots!” William said. The card game challenges each player to collect cards in a draft format in order to build their deck. When the battle begins each player slide their pilot card into the robot card, courtesy of a die cut cockpit in the center of the robot. Then players lay armor cards on the robot to watch the robot grow stronger and boost up the attack and defense. When players start attacking they roll dice to determine if the robot will blow of an arm, a leg or a head. Each pilot has a powerful critical form when you are down to one remaining limb, which gives the losing player a chance to make a comeback, but when a robot has lost of four limbs the game is over.

William and John have spent their free time at their apartment on the East End of Portland, Maine developing this intense card game consisting of 113 unique cards and 3 different game play modes. William is a local visual artist and activist, working at Preble Street, teaching at Rivertree Art in Kennebunk and volunteering at the Meg Perry Center. William did all of the artwork and design for the game and originally invented the concept for the game over ten years ago in Minnesota, but did not start finishing it until meeting Sighless in 2012. Sighless is a local musician in the Bumbling Woohas and works at the Maine People Alliance, and was the host of Turnstyle Thursday open mic at CTN Channel 5 for over a year. Once Sighless began working on the game he created a business plan, invented characters and began writing back stories. A group of artists called the Hidden Ladder Collective, which William and John helped start, began play testing the game in-between hosting art shows, art making gatherings and busking out on the streets. Other members of Team Robots, Abbeth Russell and Kara Oster made important contribution to the game.

Thursday, October 23rd the collective has launched the Kickstarter hoping to raise the $22,000 they need to print the first edition versions of the game. As of November 1st they have raised $7,000 towards their goal. Over 100 letters have gone out to game stores across the country. William and Sighless and PBL ROBOTS fans have been playing PBL ROBOTS demo events weekly at R Choice 2 Gaming Thursday Nights which is a free event open to the public. The group has been travelling to Louisana, New Orleans and the Midwest to demo the game.

While the game itself is optimal for players 12 years and older, due to the high level of strategy, the game is also very appealing to a younger audience. William teaches art at Rivertree Arts in Kennebunk and his 4th to 6th grade students have loved the PBL ROBOTS cards. “The kids come back the next day demanding to have another glance at the game, and their parents follow right behind curious to see what the kids are so excited about,” William remarked. Because of the kids persistence William and Sighless invented a new way to play the game that makes it a little easier for a younger audience, but retains the fun and excitement of the longer game. The popularity of the game is already growing with over 900 Twitter followers and over 200 Facebook likes.

To check out their Kickstarter visit their website at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robotcardgame/pbl-robots-dice-and-card-game (started at 7pm Thursday 10/23). The group is hoping to play the game with as many new players as possible all around the country while hoping to hit their goal by December!

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AeriCam Releases the Anura; a Revolutionary Pocket Size Drone.

The Anura is AeriCam’s game changer for the drone consumer market.  Anura is a mini drone that’s designed to fit in pants or shirt pockets, with all sensitive parts protected. Your smart phone is the only thing you need to operate the Anura.

The Anura is the first drone in the consumer market to travel with the user 24/7, whenever and wherever. This allowing users to never miss a moment; capturing aerial photo and video. It is user friendly, so one can simply enjoy the thrill and freedom of flying.

The Anura was designed to inspire people who are interested in flight, photography, videography, or just to entertain. Anura is controlled via Wi-Fi to your smart phone (IOS/Android), and through the App. You can fully control the aircraft’s direction. Anura features a micro camera and the view of the camera is streamed through Wi-Fi to your smart phone; which allows you to capture the exact photo and video from the App. Anura also features functions such as auto take off, auto land, return home, and follow the phone; which makes it one of the most powerful and versatile mini drone of its class.

AeriCam is a San Francisco based company established for developing aerial cinematography solutions. The company has designed drones and camera equipment for six years, and combines a strong technical expertise with a long history of delivering professional and reliable equipment.  The Anura is AeriCam’s first consumer product, but you can be certain it will share the same traits as their professional line.

Anura will be available for pre-order through Kickstarter, and you can check updates and product launch information on www.AeriCam.com.

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Der neue Roberta-Grundlagenband ist da!

Dieser Band stellt das Roberta-Konzept vor und enthält Grundlagen zur Planung und Durchführung von Roberta-Kursen. Dazu gehören insbesondere didaktische Hinweise zur gendergerechten Kursgestaltung. Explizit werden die beiden Roboter-Baukastensysteme LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT und LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 vorgestellt. Des Weiteren gibt das Buch einen Überblick über den Einsatz und die Verwendung von Robotern in der heutigen Gesellschaft. Aufgrund der zahlreichen Aufgabenstellungen mit unterschiedlichem Schwierigkeitsgrad, bietet dieser Band gerade für Lehrkräfte viele Anregungen zur Gestaltung eigener Roberta-Kurse. Alle im Buch enthaltenen Aufgabenstellungen folgen dem langjährig erprobten Roberta-Konzept und können kostenfrei auf dem Roberta-Portal heruntergeladen werden.

Link zum Shop

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LegoWorld 2014 Utrecht Pictures

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FlowPaw the new hardware and software coding kit from DSPRobotics gets a KickStart!

London UK October 20, 2014 – DSPRobotics announce the ‘FlowPaw’ the ‘Build-your-own-Gizmo’ kit aimed at education & robotics. This neat kit comprises of state-of-the-art USB hardware that allows interfacing to a range of plug-in sensors, motor controllers and displays etc. plus a range of digital and analog ins and outs and the control of RC servos for robotics/control applications etc. The kit also comes with a STEM version of the award winning FlowStone graphical programming language also from DSPRobotics. The FlowPaw kit is available now to pre-order on KickStarter: http://kck.st/1sMebqo

“The FlowPaw system has been created following two years of testing various electronics interfaces for the education/hobby/robotics market and writing about them in Robot Magazine. We have also tested the system in schools all over the world and created a system that is incredibly easy to use, teach and learn.” Says Carl Owen, CEO of DSPRobotics.

For more information visit: www.FlowPaw.com

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