Stanford University alumni Josh Chan and Tarun Pondicherry invented LightUp, a modular electronics kit that’s as easy to use as LEGO blocks. The kit is designed to teach children the basics of electronics and computer programming.
LightUp simplifies the process of building an electronic circuit so that it won’t discourage children from experimenting and trying again if they don’t get the result they want. Instead of requiring children to use soldering materials or wires, the parts in a LightUp kit connect to each other using magnets. This means that they’re easy to put together and take apart. It also means that if you purchase more kits, you get more parts to mix and match.
One thing that LightUp kits have that LEGO toys don’t have is an augmented reality app. When you take a picture of a LightUp circuit on a mobile device, the app can point out if any of the parts are incorrectly connected. It can also show the flow of electricity throughout the circuit, as shown in the image above. Finally, LightUp can be programmed using Arduino code, so kids can jump right into coding if they want. I’m not sure if the kit will come with programming aids or lessons though.
Pledge at least $39 (USD) on Kickstarter to receive a LightUp kit as a reward. The reward tiers seem to have different kinds of kits assigned to them; I’m not sure if the more expensive kits will include all the items included in the cheaper ones, so choose your desired tier carefully.