Playtime with building blocks will never be the same.
And if Tony Stark ever gives Legos a tech facelift, the result would be something like Makeblock Neuron, the new electronic building blocks platform just announced by Makeblock Co., Ltd.
Thanks to the ingenious team at Makeblock, kids, beginning in June 2017, will be able to use their playtime to construct “anything” and “everything,” as the company claims–everything from IoT remote control cars to glowing Tron-like LED dresses with butterfly wings.
The building block platform looks so appealing, in fact, that every adult who sees it in action will immediately think, “Where was this when I was a kid?”
The Irresistible Magnetism of Makeblock Neuron
Billed as a “programmable electronic building blocks platform,” Makeblock Neuron takes essential electronic components–control buttons, power supplies, communication receivers, inputs, outputs–and turns them into colorful building blocks that users can assemble like Legos, connectable via Pogo Pins.
What really catches the eye, however, is the way it looks and clicks together. Most of the components have a square or rectangle shape like toy blocks, and they have beautiful, bright colors.
In addition, the backs of each block are magnetized so that you can, for example, place your block creations on walls for educational presentations. Also, the Pogo Pins easily stick together, which gives the building process that satisfying tactile experience when everything snaps together.
How It Works: Teaching Kids the Flow of Technology Through Electronic Building Blocks
It’s clear the Makeblock team carefully thought through every detail. For example, each building block belongs in one of five precise categories that helps the builder get a feel for the flow of electronics and programming, as follows:
1. Energy and Communication Blocks
- Power Supply
- Wireless Transmitter
- Wireless Receiver
2. Control Blocks
- Funny Touch
- Voice Recognition
3. Input Blocks
- Line Follower
- Color Sensor
- Ultrasonic Sensor
- Gyro Sensor
- Light Sensor
- Sound Sensor
- Temperature Sensor
- Humiture Sensor
- Soil Moisture Sensor
- PIR Sensor
4. Output Blocks
- Dual DC Motor Driver
- Dual Servo Driver
- RGB LED
- LED Panel
- LED Strip Driver
- EL Wire Driver
- Mic & Speaker
- Laser Pointer
- Plastic Timing Pulley 62T
- Magnet Wire
- Slick Tyre
- USB Cable
- Motor Bracket Pack
- Neuron Board
- Mini Caster Wheel
Designed especially for STEM students, MakeBlock Nueron teaches the basics of electronics and programming using the addictive play power of building blocks.
In fact, to give young builders some helpful direction, Makeblock also created themed kits with blocks and parts designed to help the user create specific kinds of gadgets and inventions:
- Light Wizard Kit
- Science Lab Kit
- Explorer Kit
- All-in-One Kit
The blocks can even interface with Makeblock’s Neuron App, which, as Makeblock explains, is an “intuitive Flow-Based Programming platform” that “makes programming easy and fun for users of all programming levels.”
Electronic Dresses, Plant Watering Systems, and Text Recognition Devices
So what can you make with these electronic building blocks? Makeblock is bold when answering this question, and their answer is in their catchphrase: “Make Anything, Make Everything.”
When you begin perusing some of their examples, it’s not hard to see why they chose that catchphrase. The possibilities seem endless, and anyone, young or old, who loves building, creating, and problem solving, will immediately begin to salivate when they see the potential.
Some of the creations from these electronic building blocks include:
- A Glowing Dress Made of “Lightening Blocks”: Using 8 LED Strips and 8 EL Wires, builders can construct a gorgeous dress that could easily belong in Disney’s Electrical Parade. Builders can program custom light shows into the dress using the Neuron app.
- Automatic Plant Watering System: using the Soil Moisture Sensor, builders can create, with the help of the Neuron app, a smart watering system that senses when a plant is too dry and triggers water to squirt into the plant’s pot through a tube.
- Text Recognition Device: Makeblock integrates Microsoft’s Cognitive Services so that the Camera Block can be used to build a text recognition device.
Tony Stark Would Be Proud
To be fair to Tony Stark of Iron Man fame, if he designed building blocks to help kids learn technology, his blocks would be more advanced. (They would likely turn into jet engines and give the kids a lesson in aerodynamics.)
Despite any disappointing lack of jet propulsion, these electronic building blocks, with their enormous creative possibilities and appealing design, would impress even Tony Stark.
They’re certainly impressing the public.
In fact, Makeblock began their crowdfunding campaign for the product in early March, and they’ve already met their funding goal. Backers who’ve purchased kits will receive their shipments in June 2017 when Makeblock makes the product available to the public.