Friday, 24 January 2014

An Educational Sensor Learning Board (Arduino Compatible)

There's a new Kickstarter project that looks very interesting. The Arduino Compatible Educational Sensor Learning Board has a range of sensors built in to a single small and inexpensive board and extra sensors available as add-ons.

Working with sensors is great for educational electronics projects. You can detect stuff that's happening in the real world and build some great stuff that does something. Sensor-based electronics projects are fun to demonstrate and very hands-on.

But getting started can be complicated. We like the idea of having a board that has lots of sensors and can be used in a range of projects.

This Educational Sensor Learning Board comes in several versions. There are sensors for detecting:
  • Sound
  • Light
  • Vibration
  • Magnet
  • IR (TV remote)
  • Motion (PIR plug-in extra)
  • Temperature (Thermister plug-in extra)
I think it's definitely worth going for the full version because motion sensing and temperature monitoring are pretty fun and useful features to have. The model board also has some other useful features like an LED, 555 timer and voltage comparators which gives the ability to do some interesting things without needing to connect the board to anything else.

You can also interface the board with an Arduino board if you want to build more complex projects and have software logic.

I like the idea of having a single board that we can pull out each time we want to do a sensor based project. The cost is $37 CAD plus $7 CAD shipping outside Canada for the full version and there are lower cost options.

The board's designer, Patrick Thomas Mitchell, is also planning a manual and a series of tutorial videos which will combine electronics theory with practical lab projects using the board (he already has experience making electronics tutorial videos.)

The Kickstarter project isn't asking for a large amount of money so there's a good chance it will be successful. If it goes to plan you wont have to wait long to get your hands on the board either, shipping is scheduled for end of Feb / early March.

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