Friday, 29 January 2016

Crowdfunded Kids Tech January / February 2016



This is a round-up of current kids technology crowdfunded projects for January 2016. Many will be available to back into February. Check out our the Dec / Jan crowdfunding roundup post for more projects that may still be available to back.

It's been an interesting month with CES at the beginning, BETT the UK Ed-Tech conference and toy fair season getting started. UK Kid Tech is particularly strong this month, we love to see that!



Robots

CHiP Robotic Dog


CHiP is the new robotic pet from WowWee. It was launched as an Indiegogo crowdfunded project at the beginning of January (and appeared in our CES Kid Tech Roundup.) 

It's interesting to see such a major player in the tech toys industry taking to crowdfunding to launch a new product.

CHiP uses a wristband which is worn for gesture control and also has buttons that can be used to interact with the robot.

CHiP is packed with tech for avoiding obstacles, interacting with its ball, learning new behaviours and interacting with humans.

The focus here is on moving towards a robot companion shifts towards being pet-like rather than toy-like. CHiP takes a step towards being an alternative to a real pet.

My younger son has been designing his own robot dog for a while and CHiP has some of the features he has planned (though not some of the whackier ones!)

Hardware and Electronics


Blaze is a small development board with a capacitative touch screen. Blaze isn't aimed at children, or even beginners, but it looks like a great option for capable teenagers and family tech projects.

A development board plus a mini touchscreen is a combination we've often wanted for projects. You can buy components separately but then it's more work to get software working together and to make a physical connection between components that weren't designed to fit together.

Blaze also offers GPIO so it can be used as the basis for working with other components.

It has its ow API but also has an Arduino compatibility API for those who are already familiar with Arduino and want to build on that knowledge.

The Blaze campaign doesn't have long to run so get in quick if you know a teen or family who could build cool stuff with this compact and full-featured board.

More hardware and electronics:
  • SCIO is a new electronics learning platform with online lessons and a hardware board. There's a $50 SCIO reward level that give you a board plus a 1 year subscription to the online video courses.  
  • The iQube modular electronics for kids project met its funding goal on Indiegogo on Jan 9th 2016. It is still available to back at various perk levels with delivery estimated to start in June 2016.

Coding

Fruit Coder is an app to teach girls to code. We've previously written about whether girls need separate tech toys.

Rather than just making things pink and fluffy, Fruit Coder introduces a female coder role model and uses a story to introduce puzzles to be solved with code.

They have an approach to introducing more girls to STEM than we definitely support: "In other words, it's not about how many boys we exclude, it's about how many girls we make sure to tailor it to first."

The Fruit Coder campaign has quite a way to go to reach its $100,000 dollar target. The goal is to make the app free to play so pledges will go towards making the app widely available.


Beep Beep Yarr! is an adventure story book that aims to teach coding concepts to children. It's aimed at 6-8 year olds and has girl and boy lead characters (yay!) plus a robot (double yay!)

Grace and Alan are proper tech age kids who tinker with computers.

The book won't feature actual code. Instead at the end of each chapter there will be a link to an online interactive challenge which uses the skills learned in the chapter.

There's definitely a need for more fiction featuring technology. We love stories.

You can pledge for digital and / or physical versions of the book.


Books, Puzzles and Games


Fabulous Beasts is a balancing game using magical artifacts and technology to connect the physical and digital world. It's for 1 to 5 players and the aim is to build the most fabulous tower before it collapses and the game ends. It's a bit like "buckaroo" a balancing game which has always been a firm favourite in our house (Elbrie).

Update: This project got renamed to Beasts of Balance. You can read our review of the game.

There are beasts, elements and miracle pieces all make the game a whole lot more exciting than traditional balancing games. It's all about strategy and cooperation.

We love that the game pieces are 3D printed and also there is a Maker Edition of the game which you can colour yourself.


More campaigns:
  • Puzzle Your Kids is a email subscription service that will deliver kid-friendly puzzles each week. The puzzles will be written by Eric Berlin who has written a series of kids puzzle books. We love puzzles! Great for developing logical thinking skills.
  • The Boy and the Computer is an up to the minute graphic novel for kids which aims to inspire more kids to take an interest in STEM subjects. The author, Franchino, struggled to get his own kids to take an interest in computer science and aims to help kids understand why it's important.
  • BEEP BOOP is a card game that involves building and battling robots. It's aimed at age 10+. There's a digital printable reward as well as the physical card game. We like the fresh robot part designs and love family strategy games, especially if they include robots. 

Have you got a campaign you'd like us to feature in a future edition of the Tech Age Kids crowdfunding roundup. Contact Us.




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