Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Makeblock Neuron: An Electronic Building Blocks Platform


We've been looking forward to this! Makeblock have launched their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Neuron - An Electronic Building Blocks Platform, a range of programmable modular robotics components.

Makeblock are behind the mBot robot range that we use and recommend. Neuron is looking really interesting. Neuron can be used by beginners as a simple way to create electronics projects and by hobbyists to make useful custom gadgets.

The blocks each have an individual function and connect together using pogo pin connectors. Neuron inventions are powered using a rechargeable power block. The backs of the blocks are magnetic so they can be mounted on a metal surface. Wire blocks give you some flexibility in the placement of the blocks.

There are 30 different kinds of block so there's going to be loads of scope for creating amazing gadgets, contraptions, science projects and tech toys.

The blocks can be used together without an app or for more control they can be programmed. There's a flow-based graphical Neuron app and we're pleased to see that there's also support for the Scratch-based mBlock environment that we use to program the mBot range of robots. There's also an open SDK for integration with other platforms.

You'll be able to connect up to the internet of things to create connected projects and there's also integration with Microsoft Cognitive Services for face recognition and speech recognition.

We're impressed with the range of components which include simple sensors through to a camera, with lots of different ways to create lighting effects and movement.

To start with there are four different kits that bundle up Neuron blocks into themes: Light Wizard Kit, Science Lab Kit, Explorer Kit, and All-in-One Kit. The kits come with 'Idea Cards' with project ideas to get you started.

The All-in-One kit includes one of each type of Neuron block plus multiple of some blocks and accessories.

Neuron can be used with LEGO and can also be used with Makeblock's metal parts. Neuron looks like a great option for maker families.

Makeblock are planning to start shipping Makeblock Neuron in June 2017.

Check out the Makeblock Neuron campaign on Kickstarter.

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