Faraday Kit: Learn by Making (Canceled)
A toy & app for anyone to learn to code: electronic building blocks + drag-and-drop code blocks. Lego meets the Internet of Things!
Hello Kickstarter friends,
It’s been incredible to see your outpouring of support to help bring this project to life. As you might imagine, a lot has been going on behind the scenes as well. We expected that it’d be a wild ride, but even knowing that we couldn't have predicted what the last few weeks would bring.
A tremendous opportunity literally just popped onto our radar (like…yesterday). We can't divulge too much yet, but in short we're in our strongest position ever to fund and launch our next generation of kits in a big way later this year. It was a tough choice, but to be able to pursue this newly opened path we're ending this campaign and returning your pledges.
We know you all are our earliest and strongest supporters, given that you've pledged your hard-earned cash for what we're making. We want to assure you that we’re as committed as ever to producing and delivering our new kit to your doorstep. This new path keeps us on a similar timetable, without tying up your funds unnecessarily to boot!
As a gesture of thanks for your early support, here's what we're going to do:
- Provide a discount coupon for our Edison and Tesla Kit (available now)
- We know many of you early adopters are excited by features of our new kit, so when we’re closer to completion we'll provide an opportunity for you to grab it at the Kickstarter price.
We'll be messaging our backers directly so you can take advantage of either (or both) of these offers. Thanks again, and stay tuned for more!
Tarun & Josh
We started LightUp after meeting at a Stanford education lab and bonding over two things. A shared passion for teaching kids about STEM, and a shared frustration with existing tools and toys that were all too dangerous, complicated, or patronizing.
These three roadblocks push away curious young minds every day, but we realized the last one is the most harmful. The point of engineering isn't about tackling challenges that are quick and easy. Engineering is about finding ways to solve hard problems.
We built LightUp so kids can discover their inner abilities: to take on challenges, solve hard problems, and change the world. With LightUp, we aim to inspire kids not by dumbing toys down, but by building kids up.
As educators, we’ve been privileged to be part of the moments when a kid realizes they have what it takes to overcome challenges. We made LightUp so you’ll be able to witness these same life-changing lightbulb moments in your own home. Mistakes were encouraged in Josh’s classroom and Tarun’s workshops, and that same philosophy will be reflected in every LightUp kit we ship out. Back our campaign to help us inspire the innovators of tomorrow, one kid at a time.
LightUp is the world's first toy that teaches kids about coding and electronics with a friendly iPad tutor. It combines circuit building blocks with an app that lets anyone learn to code with wireless drag-and-drop programming and a friendly tutor that adapts to the individual learner.
These days code controls way more than just what you see on the screen. With LightUp, you can too. We made the Faraday Kit so anyone can code beyond the screen.
"I bought a LightUp kit as a gift for a 9 year old boy who loves learning about how things work (mostly electronics) and is learning how to build a computer. We've been in Target and he wanted to go look at the different kind of cables in the electronics department (not toys!). I think he's possibly on his way to becoming an engineer. This is a great kit and he loves it."
"Bought this for my kids (6 and 10). They had no prior experience or interest in circuits. They instantly took to this product, and began figuring out the possible combinations. The mobile app just spurred their curiosity. The build quality of this toy is top notch. I have no doubt this kit will last through a few generations."
LightUp is so open-ended we've seen kids make just about everything! Here are a few ideas to get you started...
- a music box that plays your favorite songs
- a tea timer (for black and green tea)
- games like Simon Says, Reaction timer, Whack-a-mole
- a burglar alarm
- an alarm clock (triggered at a certain time, or when the sun rises)
- musical instruments like a theremin and keyboard
- the amazing project you're dreaming up that we didn't think of yet!
No one should have to see the words "syntax error", especially not an 8-year-old. With LightUp Code we're bringing drag-and-drop programming to hardware. It's inspired by Scratch so anyone familiar with that can get started in seconds. If you're not, no problem. It's super easy to get started. Want to see it action? Head over here for a sneak peek of an early version. We even made a virtual kit just for you! Got an Arduino Uno? Awesome. Just plug it in and program it straight from your browser.
Faraday is 100% wireless. There's no more painful driver setup, sticking wires into tiny slots or having to lug a heavy laptop around. Just hit run and your code is programmed onto your project and starts running in seconds. Bluetooth works both ways, so your projects can also talk to your iPad and make internet-connected projects!
Just snap it together
All the blocks connect magnetically. Just snap them together to build your project in seconds.
Friendly Tutor: We want kids to make mistakes
As educators, we know that "mistakes" aren't bad at all, but should actually be encouraged. Let's follow Carol Dweck's example and foster a growth mindset in our kids; one that builds grit and confidence as they learn by making mistakes.
With our first campaign, we created a tutor all to help kids as they build circuits. It was a smashing success. Kids around the world used the LightUp Lens 100,000 times to experiment, tinker and learn. Just like before, our friendly iPad tutor uses augmented reality to help beginners with basic circuits too! Just take a picture and watch it come to life!
We've now brought this interactivity to LightUp Code. Our friendly iPad tutor provides helpful hints as you complete challenges and write code. Our adaptive AI technology recognizes patterns of code that need some polishing up and displays a little tip giving a push in the right direction.
While we don't plan on this happening, we may have to make some tweaks to the kits as we go into production. If anything does change, we'll be sure to let you know and make sure the changes are still in the spirit of the original kit.
Android Support? We've got you covered. We’ll be rolling out support for modern Android devices in December. We've designed our app in a way that makes it easy to port between iOS and Android. The main hurdle is that camera quality on Android devices is inconsistent. We’ll primarily test on the Nexus 5 and Nexus 7, so any device that has comparable specs and Bluetooth 4.0 support should work.
Under the hood, our microcontroller block is powered by the RFduino, a cutting-edge Bluetooth Smart module with ARM Cortex M0. It's Arduino-compatible, over-the-air programmable and just plain awesome. After graduating from our drag-and-drop coding, you can basically run any Sketch you want using the Arduino IDE or through our app.
We launched our first product to teach kids about electronics right here on Kickstarter. Since then, we’ve shipped thousands of LightUp kits to eager kids around the world (90+ countries and counting). Kids have built 100,000 circuits, many for the very first time.
Circuits are important, but there’s another big part to understanding how the technology around us works: the code running it. That’s why we’ve developed the next generation of LightUp, which brings coding off the screen and into the real world. With our Maker Kits, anyone could build their first circuit. Now with our Faraday Kit, anyone can write their first line of code.
We're taking cutting-edge wireless technology in putting into a toy. To do that in a cost-effective way, we need to hit certain minimum quantities. With your help we can overcome the minimum order hurdle, set up our production line, and start churning out awesome Faraday Kits to send to each of you. In return, our Kickstarter backers will be the first people in the world to receive the Faraday Kit, and at a special price!
Josh Chan graduated from the Stanford Teacher Education Program, after teaching for a year at a local high school. Before that, he majored in Human Biology at Stanford. He is interested in applying sound pedagogical practices to help people learn in and out of the classroom. When he's not at "work", he plays his banjo, cooks up a storm, and listens to Bob Dylan on repeat.
Tarun Pondicherry graduated with a masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2013 and received a BSE from Princeton University in 2011. In the past Tarun worked on projects at One Laptop Per Child, Google and NVIDIA.
Many people have helped us get to where we are now, and we sincerely appreciate all the time, mentorship and help. In particular a huge shoutout to Paulo Blikstein, StartX, HAX, RFdigital, and Codebender, and all the amazing backers of our first campaign.
Risks and challenges
We fulfilled our first campaign, shipping out 1000+ LightUp kits to 90+ countries. We've shipped thousands more of our Edison and Tesla kits in the last few months. This time, everything you see in the video is fully functional. We've already designed the hardware for the Faraday Kit and have started getting the production line set up. We've been concurrently developing the software and expect the initial release to be available when the rewards ship. We learned from our first campaign that unforeseen issues do crop up from time to time, and we've built in a buffer to try to account for any issues. If anything changes, we'll be sure to stay in touch and let you know exactly what's going on.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)