NEWS$show=/search/label/news

Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

Arckit plus Circuit Playground Electronics = ArckitTechture


When we first saw the Arckit architectural construction sets we wanted to add electronics to them. So that's precisely what we've done. We've added light and sound effects to a building and created touch sensitive buttons and floor panels.

See our Arckit review for more details.

What You'll Need

You'll need an Arckit set, we'd recommend one of the plain white and clear sets rather than the coloured kits as the lighting effects will be better. 

The other materials for the project are things you can find lying around the house. Okay, that's a lie. They were all lying around in our house, but you might have some gaps to fill. You'll need:

  • A Circuit Playground Electronics board plus a USB cable - alternatives are possible and we'll look at some of those in future. 
  • White coated wire that will fit through the holes in the Arckit flooring. We used 1.4mm silicone coated wire. 
  • Wire cutters - you can strip wire carefully using scissors or a craft knife but it's much easier with the right tool and it's a good one for young makers to learn to use. 
  • Conductive silver paper fasteners. Ours came from a local supermarket and seem to work really well. 
  • Aluminium kitchen foil. Not too thick and you won't be able to place wrapped floor tiles next to each other.

Electronics: Circuit Playground

We considered lots of different electronics kits and boards for this project and we'll try some others in the future but we settled with a Circuit Playground board for our first ArckitTechture project. The Circuit Playground is a beginners Arduino board from Adafruit.

The Circuit Playground is great for this project because:

  • It has lots of capability built in including a small speaker, RGB LED lights, capacitative touch pads, light sensor and more. This means you can get to the fun stuff more quickly. 
  • It's small (4cm diameter) and looks great. 
  • It can be programmed via Arduino which is a very popular C-based programming environment for hobbyist electronics and can also be programmed with Scratch. There's also a drag and drop Maker Lab editor from Code.org on the way and a drag and drop PXT editor from Microsoft underway for the upcoming Circuit Playground Express board. This means the board fits in very well with ArcKit's STEAM education mission. 
  • It's inexpensive, around $20. 

See our Circuit Playground review for more details.

Using Capacitative Touch

Capacitative touch means you can connect anything conductive to one of 8 pads on the Circuit Playground to act as a button.

We used paper fasteners as buttons to attach to wall panels and covered floor panels with aluminium foil. We then had to simply wire our inputs to the Circuit Playground board.



We used coated white wires thin enough to thread through the holes in Arckit floors. This allows us to place the buttons wherever we wanted within the structure and keep things tidy.

We attached the wires to the pads on the Circuit Playground using paper fasteners as they are less bulky than crocodile clips. You just need to make sure the paper fasteners don't touch each other.

The other ends of the wires are either attached to paper fasteners to act as buttons or threaded under the floor beneath a foil-covered floor tile.





Using Capacitative touch means that the Circuit Playground needs to be powered via USB rather than via a battery pack to get the best results, but the benefits are worth it.

The Building

For this project, I commissioned an Arckit structure from my 10 year old. I asked for something museum-like with a gallery where we would be able to place the Circuit Playground at the top and have its lights shine down through multiple floors.

He modified a structure he had already created and made it taller with an internal gallery.



Housing the Circuit Playground

We wanted to use the full effect of the LEDs on the Circuit Playground so we left a 2 x 2 hole in the roof for the Circuit Playground to shine through. A few extra connectors around the edges stop the board from falling through the hole.



We considered using white walls around the board to direct the light downwards but we decided that we liked the way that the light leaks and lights up clear parts. 

My son built a surround to keep in it place and we used Arckit components to make a clear removable roof that can easily be taken off to work with the board. 

A small Arckit roof extender keeps the USB cable in place and stops the Circuit Playground moving around. 

The Electronic Features

We added the electronics one feature at a time, first coding the behaviour and testing and then adding the wiring. 

Doorbell

First we added a doorbell. You touch a paper fastener at the front of the building and the speaker plays a doorbell sound and the lights flash. You'll know there's someone there!



Disco Mode

We added another paper fastener button to trigger 'disco mode' with flashing lights and sounds.



Welcome

There's also a floor panel button at the entrance which my 8 year old son designed to be triggered by anyone walking into the building barefoot! This currently triggers a purple flashing effect. 

Lights

On the roof there are buttons to control the lights. On the left are buttons for increasing the amount of red, green and blue, and on the right there are buttons for white and off. This gives you lots of scope for adjusting the lighting by touching the building itself. 


Tap Detection

You can also turn the lights on and off by tapping on the surface that the ArcKit building is on. Turning the lights on and off using this approach remembers the current colour settings. 

You can adjust the sensitivity of tap detection to get the result you want.

Alarm System

If you try and remove the Circuit Playground then there's an alarm sound and the lights flash red! This uses the accelerometer movement sensor.



The Wiring

My kids helped with the wiring. They worked out how long the wires would need to be, allowing plenty of extra to allow us to lift up the Circuit Playground. They both used a wire stripper to expose the wire at each end and helped feed the wires around the building.



My younger son came up with the idea of feeding the wires up from underneath the floors below the foil-covered floor tiles so they would look neat from above. 

We didn't try too hard to make the wires follow the walls neatly this time as we were keen to make sure the principle worked but you could tape the cables in place or use loom bands to secure them. 

The Arduino Code

I coded the project in the Arduino environment this first time as that was convenient for me on my Linux machine and we wanted to focus on the physical build to start with. I used the Arduino Create online editor which has support for the Circuit Playground which makes it nice and easy.

My kids requested features and I quickly wrote the code to implement their requests. Yes, they could write it, but their typing is slow and it wasn't the focus for this initial project.


You could run the Circuit Playground from a battery pack but we found that a white USB cable actually looks better and takes less space. It also means that we can keep tinkering with the code.

Next: Scratch

Arduino was convenient for getting everything working but now we've got everything in place the kids can program the Circuit Playground using Scratch.

This is actually better in a lot of ways as it's natural to have two way communication so you can integrate a Scratch project with the Arckit building that it controls. You can then make the building respond to key presses and other forms of user input. Lots of scope for fun projects there. 

There's also support for the upcoming Circuit Playground Express in the drag and drop Microsoft PXT editor as well as upcoming support from Code.org in their MakerLab graphical editor.

Verdict

We were really pleased with the results of this project. The use of white wires, tin foil and silver coloured paper fasteners means that the electronics blends in with the Arckit building and doesn't look too out of place. We could certainly tidy up the wires to improve the effect. 

The Arckit raised floor panels and floor holes were really useful routing wires around the building. The white and clear panels work really well with coloured lights. 

The white wall panels look gorgeous when lit up and the clear panels catch the light really prettily. The LEDs are bright enough to create a strong colour during the day and look amazing at night. An unanticipated benefit is the light patterns cast on the floor as the coloured light shines through the clear parts - this looks especially good at night. 

The Circuit Playground has a great set of features for completing a project like this without having to do any soldering or breadboard work or even use crocodile clips. 

Arckit plus Circuit Playground is a brilliant combination for STEAM projects and will appeal to those who are interested in what tech can add to a creative project rather than just being into tech for its own sake. 

Don't miss our project that combines Arckit with 3D modelling and 3D printing:
Name

2013,13,3d printing,5,3DTin,2,accessories,1,activities,1,adafruit,1,adventure games,1,amazon,12,amazon fire,2,amazon prime,1,android,6,angry birds,1,animation,6,anki,1,app,18,app toy,4,app toys,8,appcessories,1,apple,1,apps,25,arcbotics,1,architecture,4,arckit,9,arduino,33,art,1,artificial intelligence,5,astronauts,2,astronomy,1,augmented reality,11,automaton,1,awards,1,battle bots,2,battling robots,2,bedtime,1,big kids,99,big tablets,1,bigtrak,1,bike,1,binary,1,birthday,4,bitsbox,1,black friday,2,blockly,1,blogging,1,bloxels,1,bluetooth,2,board games,7,books,34,boolean box,1,breadboard,2,bricks,1,brixo,1,buying guide,5,camera,4,cameras,1,card game,1,careers,2,catroid,1,celebration,1,cellphone,1,ces,2,chemistry,2,chess,1,christmas,42,circuit cubes,1,circuit playground,8,circuit scribe,10,cleaning,1,climbing,1,code clubs,1,code-a-pillar,1,codebug,1,coder,2,coding,169,cognitive learning,1,communication,1,comparison,1,competition/challenges,9,computational thinking,3,computer,2,computer games,1,computer science,2,computer vision,2,computers,1,computing,1,conductive playdough,2,connected toys,7,construction,40,conversational ai,1,cozmo,1,craft,34,craft cutter,3,creative thinking,1,creativity,3,crochet,1,crowdfunding,119,css,1,cubs,1,curiosity,1,curious chip,1,cyber monday,1,dads,1,data,1,deals,4,dens,2,design,10,design process,1,design thinking,7,digital parenting,2,digital skills,13,disability,1,disney infinity,1,dog tech,1,dolls,2,drawing,2,drones,2,duinokit,1,earth day,1,Easter,4,ebooks,11,eco,1,edblocks,1,edison,5,edtech,1,education,79,egypt,1,electricity,1,electronic pets,2,electronic toys,2,electronics,141,electronics kit,3,electronics kits,1,electtronics,1,elementary,1,elenco,2,energy,1,engineering,17,entertainment,1,ereader,1,ereaders,6,esafety,1,escape the room,1,event,21,ewriter,1,exercise,4,family,12,family tech,2,fathers day,1,Festival of Code,1,fiction,1,fitness tracker,2,flotilla,3,flow charts,1,flutterbye fairy,1,flying,1,force awakens,2,force friday,2,future,2,gadgets,36,games,35,games console,2,games consoles,8,gaming,3,gift guide,53,gifts,12,girls,23,giveaway,4,glow in the dark,1,google,1,grace hopper,1,grove,1,hackaball,2,hacksoton,1,halloween,12,halloween costumes,1,hardware,2,headphones,1,health,1,hexbug,3,hexbug aquabots,1,hexbug project,1,high school,1,history,26,home,1,home education,2,homeschool,4,hot toys,7,hour of code,3,html,4,humanoid,4,ICT,1,in app purchasing,1,indiegogo,13,industry event,9,innotab,5,innotab 3,3,innotab 3s,1,internet access,1,interviews,1,invention,4,ios,3,IoT,4,ipad,7,ipad mini,1,iphone,2,jacquard,1,japan,1,java,1,javascript,5,k'nex,7,k'nex robotics,1,kano,8,keyboard,1,kickstarter,91,kids,3,kindle,5,kindle fire,8,kit,2,kits,5,kodu,1,kubo,1,label printer,1,languages,1,laptop,1,laptops,1,last minute,1,leap motion,1,leapfrog,2,leappad,7,leappad 2,3,leappad ultra,3,leappad2,1,leapreader,1,learning,5,learning resources,5,learning tablet,2,learning tablets,9,leds,2,lego,36,lego boost,1,lego chain reactions,1,lego mindstorms ev3,5,lego power functions,2,lego technic,5,lego wedo,2,let's start coding,1,lights,1,lightseekers,1,little kids,110,littlebits,16,logiblocs,1,logic,3,logical thinking,4,loom,1,machines,1,magnetic,1,make it,2,makeblock,16,makedo,1,maker,6,makey makey,6,making,54,mardles,1,mars,1,mars rover,1,marty,1,math,3,maths,1,mbot,6,mbot ranger,1,me arm,1,meccano,6,meccanoid,5,meccanoid 2.0,1,merge vr,1,mews,1,michael faraday,1,micro:bit,9,microbit,6,microcontroller,5,microscope,1,microsoft,2,middle school,6,miles kelly,1,mindstorms,3,minecraft,21,minecraft mods,1,mixed reality,1,mobile,1,modular electronics,2,monsters university,1,morse code,2,mothers day,4,motion capture,1,motors,2,mover kit,3,movie,1,movies,4,mu,1,mu toys,1,munzee,1,music,10,my first robot,2,national dog day,1,nature,1,new year,1,news,168,news coding,1,nikola tesla,1,nintendo,2,nintendo switch,2,ohbot,3,ollie,3,on the web,1,opinion,19,origami,1,osmo,4,outdoors,13,ouya,1,ozobot,10,papercraft,3,parental controls,2,parenting,34,parrot,1,pc,1,people,8,pet tech,2,pets,3,phone,1,photography,1,photon,1,physics,3,pi day,1,picks,2,pimoroni,1,pinoccio,1,pixel kit,1,pixelart,4,play,2,playstation 4,3,plezmo,1,pocket code,1,pocket money,1,pokemon,4,pokemon go,4,poll,1,pre order,1,pre-teens,1,prehistory,1,preschoolers,41,primary,41,printable,1,products,34,professor einstein,1,programming,15,project,102,projects,11,puzzles,4,python,10,racing,1,raspberry pi,29,reading,12,reivew,1,remote control,1,research,3,resource,34,resources,2,retro,2,review,219,rights,1,robot,10,robot dog,1,robot fish,1,robot wars,3,ROBOTERRA,1,roboticals,1,robotics,32,robots,140,role models,1,role play,1,romo,1,romotive,1,root,1,rover,1,safety,2,sam labs,6,samuel morse,1,sandbox,1,schools,3,science,16,scratch,44,scratchjr,2,screen time,2,screenless,15,screens,1,sensors,5,servos,1,simbrix,7,skills,1,skylanders,3,skylanders superchargers,1,skylanders swap force,1,smart pens,1,smartphone,1,smartwatch,1,snap circuits,2,social media,1,solar power,2,soldering,2,sonic pi,1,sony koov,1,sound,3,space,8,sparki,2,speaker,3,speech sythesis,1,sphero,12,sphero mini,1,spider,2,star wars,6,stars,1,STEAM,1,stem,10,stikbot,1,stop motion,2,stop motion studio,1,storage,1,story,2,strawbees,2,students,1,subscription,5,subscriptions,1,sugru,1,summer,7,swift,1,tablet,2,tablets,23,tangible coding,2,tech,3,tech age,1,tech craft,4,tech is bad,7,tech is good,4,tech toys,21,tech will save us,10,technology,2,technology will save us,3,teens,61,teknikio,3,tekno,1,teksta,1,tenka labs,1,tesla,1,textiles,1,thames & kosmos,2,the extraordinaires,1,tim berners lee,1,tinkercad,1,tinybop,3,toddlers,8,toot-toot,1,top pick,4,touch,1,toy,1,toys,5,travelling,1,TV,1,tween,1,tweens,118,tynker,2,typing,1,ux,1,vehicles,1,videos,3,view-master,1,views,10,virtual reality,8,voice assistants,1,voice recognition,2,vtech,8,web,2,websites,1,wifi,1,wii,2,wii u,2,windows 8,1,wonder workshop,9,wowwee,2,writing,7,writing. education,1,xbox one,2,xyzprinting,1,
ltr
item
Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Arckit plus Circuit Playground Electronics = ArckitTechture
Arckit plus Circuit Playground Electronics = ArckitTechture
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uW5wHa08Gwc/WLVkJcIGB3I/AAAAAAAAEfo/BUManX9YSZIOcj-qiivfBKWIhwQMrgv5QCLcB/s640/arckit-techture-circuitplaygound-head.jpg
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uW5wHa08Gwc/WLVkJcIGB3I/AAAAAAAAEfo/BUManX9YSZIOcj-qiivfBKWIhwQMrgv5QCLcB/s72-c/arckit-techture-circuitplaygound-head.jpg
Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2017/03/arckit-plus-circuit-playground.html
https://www.techagekids.com/
https://www.techagekids.com/
https://www.techagekids.com/2017/03/arckit-plus-circuit-playground.html
true
15639169850959392
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy