A few weeks ago someone from Creation Crate offered the me the chance to review their monthly subscription service here on my blog, and even though SewCanShe is 99.9% about sewing I said yes because I've got a geek in the house. Do you? :)
Actually, I've got one geek and one who I'm trying to interest in more geeky things. Can you tell who is who?
Each month Creation Crate sends out electronics kits that teach kids (and adults too) how to build and program little Arduino-compatible UNO R3 projects. If you haven't heard of Arduino, it's an open source programmable circuit board-ish thing. My geek says it's like a little blank micro-computer.
Seriously, I can't believe how smart kids are these days. The future is going to hold amazing new technologies and it's because our kids are building and programming computers before they can drive!
He already has an Arduino and has wired it up in different ways and programmed it to do different things. So this review comes from the perspective of someone already a little bit familiar with Arduino building and programming.
The first kit is for a sweet little mood lamp. My geeky boy was really impressed that for under $30 you can get a kit with all these components. Everything you need to build an UNO R3 project except a computer to program it. He immediately started telling me how much each of these things would cost individually to prove it to me. Funny. You can tell where this boy's allowance has been going.
The only drawback he could see is that the UNO R3 does not have a micro-controller, which means that you have to leave it hooked up to a computer to make the mood lamp work.
We were both a little bit impressed by the guidebook that came with the kit. It is printed on heavy duty paper and has a lot of information. But if you are a complete beginner with arduino building and programming, we recommend the Arduino Project Handbook by Mark Geddes. We found it at Maker Faire last year and it has been the best book of that type in our geeky library.
And here is his finished mood lamp, just what I wanted, lol! But really, you aren't going to subscribe to Creation Crate because you want tiny computer projects with exposed wires and breadboards.
You would subscribe to it if learning to build and program computers is important to someone who is important to you. Like my little geek is to me. And seriously, it's a good deal.
If you have any questions about this, please ask Creation Crate, not me, lol. I'm not expert enough to help... I needed lots of help from my boy for the technical stuff in this post!