Project Bloks is a project we initiated in Creative Lab. The aim was to develop an open hardware platform for developers, designers, and researchers to build the next generation of tangible programming experiences for kids.
Kids naturally learn by using their hands – playing, building stuff, doing things together. So when it comes to teaching them how to code (something normally taught with computers and lines of boring numbers) it makes sense to do it by making code physical, so they can pull it, push it, twist it and turn it. That is tangible programming.
It's a great approach. However, when it comes to making tangible programming products for kids, developers were having to start from scratch every time. Wasting time, and money, where it could be spent on innovating.
So we set out to create a flexible, open platform that any developer could use to make their toy.
The platform is made of three main components: a Brain Board, Base Boards, and Pucks. Together, they can control things like toys, IoT devices, or applications on a computer/tablet.
The boards can be covered with any material or form you like, and can be arranged in different ways to create different experiences.
And pucks are easy to make – for example by cutting paper and drawing a capacitive signature with conductive ink. This enables an infinite number of commands to be easily made quickly, by anyone.
We announced the platform at the world's biggest technological education conference, ISTE.
My role on the project was Creative Lead for all comms – creating the narrative, two films, the website, and the conference display.
The project is still in active research, but to find out more you can watch our launch film (below).