I am thinking for awhile about how to teach young generation coding in a funny way. We all know it is very important to learn how to code but it is not so easy. It takes time and most of the young learners give up and fail at the beginning. You need something interesting to continue and try many times even you fail one after the other. It requires more time and practice than you might expect so you need a feedback mechanism that motivates you on trying without giving up.
Then suddenly I realized that fidget spinner hit the market and not only the young generation but also adults going crazy about this device. This toy was originally targeting children with autism and attention deficit disorders but sales statistics not showing us the same results. It’s being reported that toy stores can’t keep them in stock and online sales are frantic even if it was not introduced around any well-timed holiday or seasonal release. It is an absolute truth that this gadget finds its way into the hearts of young people.
I decided to use this popularity and create a fidget spinner with RGB LEDs and Arduino. It was a combination of two things that I love the most. Here is the picture of the first prototype:
I selected the most popular tree arm shape and each side has its own important function to place the battery, the light array, and the Arduino. As all other spinners, of course in the middle, there is a high quality bearing to guarantee a long turning time. For me, the most important part of this toy is the USB connection. It helps us to upload new firmware to get a new light show pattern. This functionality distinguishes it from the others. Having an ordinary fidget spinner and turning it, again and again, makes you bored in minutes. Having an ability to re-program it adds a lot to Lightino. (This is the name I found so far)
The real idea behind this gadget is to design a tool to create an innovative learning experience for teachers and their students in a collaborative learning process centered around hands-on experiments that include programming, mechanics and electronics.
I hope this will be one-of-a-kind STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) experience for your kids. I will try to setup well-documented tutorials and code exchange platform. As always all hardware and software about this gadget will be open source. With the help of a great community, this gadget can draw the attention of the young generation and motivate them to learn to code.
Here is the final pictures:
After getting to many positive feedback we create a blog to share code examples and code challenges with the community.
Here are some videos that you can code with this gadget: