Google’s research arm has introduced yet another modular design project in Project Bloks. Only this time it isn’t a consumer device, but rather a hardware platform intended to help teach children about programming.
The idea is that kids learn better by using their hands. Hence the use of modular blocks that allows users to rearrange them to create a variety of effects. These blocks come in three types, a Brain Board, Base Board, and Pucks.
Pucks can be equipped with a variety of forms and interactivity; things like sensors, switches, and instructions. Once the Puck has been determined, they are placed on Base Boards which read the contained information through a capacitive sensor. The Base Boards then connect to each other and relay the information to the Brain Board.
The Brain Board is precisely what it said on the box and is built on a Raspberry Pi Zero. It receives information from the Pucks and Base Boards, and processes it. This information can then be transmitted to other connected devices through WiFi or Bluetooth.
Ideally, these blocks can be arranged in a variety of configurations to teach children how the components work together. Google believes that this will create a new way to teach computational thinking.
The idea isn’t entirely new, as there have been other toy companies who have tried to create this sort of thing. Despite this, Google is not deterred. The company says that it is currently looking for partners and other developers to see if there is anyone interested in producing Bloks toys.
[Source: Project Bloks]