Lloyd Linnell has created a new piece of hardware aptly named the Programmable Box which has been designed to help those interested in learning how to program computers.
The new hardware has been designed to provide a flexible programming platform which is based on the Arduino processor and is equipped with a number of devices that can help easily teach modern programming concepts.
Lloyd the creator of the Programmable Box explains a little more about its inspiration and design, and why he has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds he requires to take the programming learning platform into production :
For the past two years, The Programmable Box and the associated curriculum has been successfully used to teach Jr/Sr high school students C/C++ programming and basic electronics. The Programmable Box has been used in after school computer programming clubs, in-class Computer Programming Classes, as well as summer school programs teaching computer programming.
The Programmable Box is currently designed using 6 different colored LEDs, an ultra-sonic range detector, two dual-colored LEDs, a potentiometer, a momentary contact switch, and a buzzer/speaker. The existing curriculum starts assuming no knowledge of computer programming and progresses in a step by step, easy to read and understand manner. The core curriculum is sufficient for a typical semester/quarter class and the more advanced topics of interrupts, timers, etc. can easily form the basis for an additional semester of material.
The Programmable Box has evolved from a hand-soldered project to a printed circuit board assembly project which shortened the time required to construct The Programmable Box and begin programming. The case is 3D printed in a variety of colors.
It is our desire to enable The Programmable Box and the associated curriculum to be more widely accessible to students and educators so as to foster a broader base of individuals with knowledge of computer programming. In many classroom situations, the soldering of the components is either not suitable or desired so there has been a demand for a pre-assembled box that would enable the students to begin programming without the use of a soldering iron.
To that end, we intend to enhance the electronics and associated printed circuit board designs in order to incorporate our learnings over the last two years of using the product in the classroom and to make the board more production friendly so that small production runs would be possible to support the needs of the educational community. This will require the selection of flow-solder capable products and circuit board layout.
The electronic design schematic and printed circuit board design files would be made available in the public domain on github and the raw manufactured printed circuit board will also be make available for a nominal cost for those that want to assemble the printed circuit board themselves.
The 3D print files for the case will also be available on github for download as well as offered for a nominal cost through www.your-inner-geek. Should the demand be sufficient to justify a professionally designed injection molded case, then that would also be available for a nominal cost through Your Inner Geek.
The current manual, although quite extensive, will be improved and extended based upon the feedback we have received during the past two years of use. This manual will be available in the public domain on GitHub. In addition, a completely assembled version of The Programmable Box will be available for a very nominal cost for those educational situations where no soldering is desired.
For more information on the new Programmable Box jump over to the Kickstarter website for details by following the link below.