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24 Aug 2016

Google ‘Project Bloks’

Coding is always considered a complex thing, which can be carried out well by elders usually. As a common belief learning to code, usually involves sitting in front of a computer, memorising commands, and carefully checking for syntax errors. But Google has made coding a colorful task with a new initiative called Project Bloks. This is a system of toy blocks, which can be connected by kids to control other toys and learn the fundamentals of coding in the process. This hardware platform would help the kids to code. This new hardware platform would allow the developers, designers and educators to build physical programming experiences that can help kids, age of 5+ learn how to code.

Functionality

This hardware platform is bifurcated into three parts that make up the Bloks system. At the center, it has got a heart, called “Brain Board,” which is a small Raspberry Pi Zero-based board that functions as the central processing unit and provides power to the rest of the system, also it includes a speaker.

The Brain Board then talks to the “Pucks” and “Base Board,” which collaboratively make up the physical programming language of Project Bloks. Pucks, is basically a component, as simple as a piece of paper with conductive ink. It has the basic programming commands like “turn on or off,” “move left,” “turn 180 degrees,” etc. Kids can also record instructions from multiple pucks into a single one. Pucks have no active electric components; they can be made from a variety of inexpensive materials.

Base Board are connective units that let the flow of the design instruction, they continue reading the instructions from the Pucks and pass them on to the main Brain Board. Brain Board works as a conduit to move instructions from the different parts of the program to the brain. Base Board has haptic motors and an LED so users can get real-time feedback.

Google aims to make coding easier and cheaper for kids. Bloks would help to teach kids the logic behind the coding, so that kids can pick up basic skills as they play and later transfer that knowledge to real-world applications.

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Navneet Sharma

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