In an effort to get kids to learn the way of technology at an early age, Google recently introduced Project Bloks, a tool to help kids get started in programming.
Project Bloks is a collaboration between Google, Computer Science professor Paulo Blikstein of Stanford University, and IDEO. The goal of the program is to create an open hardware platform that researchers, designers, and developers can use to build physical coding experiences. The end goal is what the partners call "tangible programming."
Steve Vranakis and Jayme Goldstein, Executive Creative Directors and Project Leads at Google Creative Lab explained:
We believe that when children learn to code, they’re not just learning how to program a computer—they’re learning a new language for creative expression and are developing computational thinking: a skillset for solving problems of all kinds. .
Project Bloks is made up of three components: the 'Brain Board,' 'Base Board,' and 'Pucks.' Pucks are responsible for initializing functions, such as 'turn on,' 'turn off,' 'jump,' or 'go,' among other possible commands. These instructions are then processed on Base Boards using capacitive sensors.
The Brain Board, on the other hand, acts as the whole processing unit of the system, built on a Raspberry Pi Zero. It powers the other two components, and provides connectivity via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Using these parts, Google wants children to be able to produce mechanisms for gizmos like robots, toys, as well as tablets.
Project Bloks is still unavailable commercially, but educators who are interested in taking part in the program can sign up here.