The Maker in the Minecraft Generation: Part Duex

For those who read my earlier blog on the intersection of the Makers Movement and the Minecraft Generation (a term I coined and applied to my own children that is based on their fascination with virtual building in a Minecraft environment), you know that I have been trying to find ways to get my own children more engaged with real makers projects. I am happy to report that fort building has begun in earnest at the Kurke household, the structure consisting of logs, sticks and other things hauled from the woods behind our house and the garage. While their aspirations (as expressed in my son’s SketchUp 3D model of the fort he wants to build) are high, it is fun to watch my boys work together as they try to creatively problem solve in the real world.

ATOMS and littleBits – Electronic Legos

I came across an interesting KickStarter project yesterday, this one from a Boulder-based company called the Seamless Toy Company. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atoms/atoms-express-toys?ref=city The Seamless Toy Company is creating an electronics construction kit for children and adults called ATOMS. Michael Rosenblatt, the founder and CEO of the Seamless Toy Company, recently blogged in MAKE magazine about the challenges of enabling young makers  – a difficult balance of the necessary complexity to make constructed objects function versus the simplicity required to engage and foster creativity in children (and makers of all ages). A direct link to Michael’s blog can be found here –http://blog.makezine.com/2012/12/20/designing-atoms-how-do-we-enable-young-makers-without-hiding-the-details-of-how-things-really-work/

ATOMS.jpg

(Image above – a typical project from ATOM.

Image below – an example of the littleBits kits available.)

littlebits.jpg

The Seamless Toy Company is in the same class of companies as littleBits (see: http://littlebits.cc/). For those of you who don’t know, littleBits is based in Greenwich Village, NYC, and they are developing a similar set of capabilities and modules to ATOMS. Though littleBits’ has a distinct difference in that they are following an open-source approach to their hardware. littleBits has been widely profiled as of late: Fast Company recently described them as a “starter kit for aspiring engineers and makers.” For a great write up, see:http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671454/littlebits-a-starter-kit-for-aspiring-engineers-and-makers#1. Aya Bdeir, former MIT MediaLabber, founded littleBits about a year ago and has since raised $4M (and a recent Series A round from Kholsa Ventures and others), see: http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2012/07/18/helping-people-play-with-electricity-littlebits-closes-3-65m-series-a/

(Kurke boys – stop reading)

Thanks to Amazon Prime, and the marvelous folks at UPS, I had my own littleBits holiday construction set delivered to my door in time for a hopefully interesting Christmas surprise.  See:http://www.amazon.com/littleBits-Holiday-Kit/dp/B00AB21TAW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356102416&sr=8-1&keywords=littlebits

Just wait until they can play with scan capture devices and 3D printers too as part of their Maker construction set!  😉

Happy Holidays everyone. Unleash the makers in your children!

[This blog was originally published on December 21st, 2012.]

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