Google announced Project Bloks, a new open platform that allows developers, designers, and teachers to create physical software designs to teach children (5 +) programming
Over the past few years, many developers have focused on game-based computer science training. Unfortunately, such programming is not yet available for the majority. Toys for programming, which are available today, are quite expensive, and their functionality is limited. But now Google has joined this race
What does the new platform look like?
The Bloks system essentially consists of three key elements. The heart of the whole system was a device called Brain Board. It is a small Board that functions as a Central processor, which also provides energy to all other elements (and at the same time can work as a speaker). Brain Board connects to other systems — Pucks and Base Board. In combination, three systems make physical programming possible.
There are no active electrical components in the Pucks. It can be described as a plain sheet of paper with conductive ink, designed to enter simple commands. On the device, you can enter instructions such as “turn on or off”, “turn left”, “turn 180 degrees” and so on. The device can be both static and interactive. Designers in the future will be able to come up with an attractive way to present all these commands, but so far in Google they look like buttons, levers and dials.
The Base Board device recognizes commands from Pucks and redirects them to the Brain Board. In fact, it is a kind of pipeline for transmitting commands from different parts of the program Board to the main control device.
The display of the Base Board also allows you to immediately view the result of programming in real time. And at the same time the device can be used to play audio recordings on the Brain Board. Using all these devices, children will be able to control various robots such as Lego WeDo 2.0 or Mirobot. The development team is now experimenting with connecting the project to the Internet via a tablet. Project components themselves Bloks with network connect can’t.
Project Bloks is open to developers. It will be interesting to watch how the target audience will react to it. While Google is looking for researchers, developers and parents who will be interested to bring the project to students this year