Awesome Shield: The At-Home Code School for Future Inventors
Thanks to you, we've unlocked a new feature for the Awesome Shield learning website called the Gadget Gallery! It lets you show off your inventions and learn from people all over the world. Learn More.
Awesome Shield is custom hardware, simplified code, and more than 100 online video tutorials that make coding fun and easy. Future inventors learn at their own pace, developing new skills by creating hands-on projects.
A powerful combination:
- Online video tutorials break down the basics of coding into simple, bite-sized lessons with a hefty dose of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math) to keep it real.
- Simplified code lets kids focus on the fundamentals and see results from the get-go.
- Awesome Shield hardware brings code to life through light, color, sound, and sensors.
With Awesome Shield, kids learn to write code that controls objects in the real world by manipulating lights, buzzers, and sensors on the Awesome Shield hardware. Hands-on coding makes abstract concepts tangible.
Awesome Shield empowers future coders with a project-based approach. Rather than teaching concepts in isolation, every single Awesome Shield video develops a skill that is necessary to complete a project that kids can enjoy every day.
Building a burglar alarm is not only useful for keeping prying eyes away from personal secrets, but also teaches kids about sensors and coding logic.
Creating a theremin makes sweet sweet music while teaching coders about musical scales and the physics of sound.
Making a programmable candle teaches the science of additive colour theory and advanced programming concepts, while making time for some good old-fashioned arts and crafts.
Comprehensive, step-by-step videos teach kids to code from the ground up.
Awesome Shield videos put kids in control of the learning process — every single tutorial is available at the click of a mouse, and setting the pace is as simple as pressing pause.
Over the course of more than 1,5 years in development, Awesome Shield videos have helped more than 400 people learn to code independently — teachers, parents, and Jedi masters optional.
Awesome Shield teaches kids the fundamentals of coding, from variables, functions and loops to the basics of object oriented programming. These skills are transferable to all programming languages.
As kids learn the fundamentals of coding, they also develop foundational learning skills:
Proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math: Core STEAM concepts are integrated into Awesome Shield tutorials, bringing hands-on projects to life.
Creative Problem Solving: Coding problems can be solved in many different ways which encourages kids to explore a variety of solutions.
Analytical thinking: Learning to break down complex problems into smaller, solvable parts is part of writing code.
Critical Thinking Skills: Kids apply existing concepts in new ways as projects become more complex.
Learning to Learn: Self-directed learning empowers kids to take control of their own education.
Literacy and Organization: Writing clear, concise code develops literacy and organizational skills.
Persistence: Fixing programming bugs teaches perseverance.
Awesome Shield is ready to go, right out of the box — simply connect the Awesome Shield hardware with Arduino and plug them into your computer. Within minutes you’ll be writing simple lines of code that control lights, sounds, and sensors on your Awesome Shield hardware.
- Arduino Uno (or equivalent) + USB cable
- Awesome Shield Hardware
- Awesome Shield tutorial videos
- Bonus Reference Documentation
- Simplified Code Library
Check out the rewards section for more options and other fun rewards.
Plug-and-play add-ons. Two ports that sit on top of the Awesome Shield hardware give kids access to a world of expansion opportunities thanks to the “Grove” add-ons produced by Seeed Studios. As of this launch, there are over 90 plug-and-play add-ons available online.
Before releasing Awesome Shield into the wild we wanted to make sure we had created a learning platform worthy of all the future inventors out there, which is why Awesome Shield has been in development for nearly two years. Since 2014, we’ve taught more than 400 people to code and the response to Awesome Shield has been extraordinary.
Magical but not magic. At Awesome Shield, we believe that technology should be accessible to everyone, that’s why our hardware design and code library are open source and available to everyone.
We have worked hard to keep both the hardware design and the code library simple, so that anyone can peek under the hood and take a look at exactly how Awesome Shield is made. Working with open source hardware and code also means that Awesome Shield can be used and improved by the community at large.
- June - Hardware designs are optimized for manufacturing, and pre-production prototypes are produced
- August - Parts and materials for manufacturing are ordered
- August - Expanded learning content & platform are completed; testing begins
- October - First round of manufacturing is completed
- December - Learning content & platform are finalized
- December - Hardware is packaged and shipped
Chris Palmer is a science nerd through-and-through. Chris published microbiology research as an undergrad, did fuel cell production R&D for Mercedes-Benz, and went on to work in biomanufacturing R&D. In various roles, Chris has been helping others learn for over twelve years. He loves sharing his passion for science and technology through Awesome Shield.
Jon Amar has been working in design for 17 years. From print to digital, UX to product design and video production, Jon does it all. With his diverse skill set, Jon has helped dozens of startups grow their businesses and their audiences. Jon is also Chris’ brother, which is pretty much the best.
Sebastian Himberger: The code is strong with this one. Sebastian started coding at 14 and is still working with both small startups and major international companies. Sebastian is a full-stack developer having built everything from websites to apps and servers. Sebastian is like a brother to Chris and Jon, which is also pretty much the best.
Maia the Dog has been with Awesome Shield since the beginning, and she may just be the wisest of us all. We’ll never know.
Special thanks to our brilliant interns Amr Moussa and Chandrasen Rajashekar. And to our talented friends Malachi Rempen (script & video) and Brady Allen (interviews) for helping us prepare our Kickstarter video.
Awesome Shield wouldn't be what it is now without the help of so many amazing people who helped us over the last 1,5 years. We want to thank all of you and are forever grateful.
In particular we want to thank Steph & Valie, Marc & Ralf, Stefan, Stephanie and Cat for letting us interview them for our video and Emma & Tino for helping us with the photos and video. You rock.
We also want to thank everyone who stopped by at our booth at Maker Faire Rome and attended our events here in Berlin. Your feedback & excitement helped us make Awesome Shield even better and keeps us motivated every single day.
A big shout-out to the following inventors for letting us share their projects in our video. It's projects and openness like theirs that make the Arduino community such a pleasure to be a part of:
POST CAMPAIGN SEASON PROUDLY POWERED BY BACKERKIT
Backerkit has a tonne of experience helping kickstarter projects manage pledges, address changes, and the general logistics the arise post Kickstarter campaigns. Working with Backerkit means less stuff falls through the cracks and we can concentrate on making Awesome Shield an amazing learning experience!
Risks and challenges
Any product involving hardware has risks due to manufacturing. Delays, or running over cost can be problematic. We have minimized these risks by working with multiple experienced manufacturers to get a firm understanding of both production costs and timelines. We have chosen standard, widely available components to minimize the risk of delays due to supplier issues. We have also produced a very simple design that should not pose difficulties in production or assembly.
The risks around producing the learning content are minimal, as we have already produced some of the content, and very clearly understand the time and resource requirements to produce the rest. Our team has copious experience doing web development. We already have a working version of the learning website, and are very confident in our ability to build in the extra features we have planned.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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