As we’ve recently explored on Bits & Pieces, it’s exciting to see a number of new products hitting the market in an effort to inspire the next generation of Makers to not only think outside the box, but to encourage them to pursue endeavors in electronics. One of the most recent projects to launch is seeking to combine both tablet accessibility and real-world experiments, in an effort to make the programming learning experience enjoyable for students and beginners alike.
The team at Rich Electronics — who debuted the Dual Arduino Micro XPlorerBoard earlier this year — has developed a self-contained Arduino development environment with all the sensors already on-board. Equipped with an ATmega328P MCU that is preloaded with the Arduino bootloader, the newly-revealed XPlorerBoard Student is fully-compatible with the Arduino IDE. Meanwhile, power is supplied using the included USB cable from the host computer or a USB power adapter.
“The XPlorerBoard Student is an ideal supplement to STEM Educational programs. It can be used as courseware for science and engineering classes, after school programs, home schooling, or for the DIY Makers,” a company rep writes.
The board allows Makers ages 8 to 80-plus to quickly learn programming and circuits using hardware and a set of iPad/Android applications. To accomplish this feat, the XPlorerBoard can easily plug into any Mac or PC, thus enabling users to run programs on its built-in Arduino-compatible processor.
The companion mobile InventIT application includes 50 inspiring experiments, each of which include a video of the completed project, hookup diagrams and an easy-to-follow graphical explanation of the build. Makers will find it increasingly easier to build interactive projects by simply following a series of graphical connection diagrams and then entering the Arduino code into their computer.
The XplorerBoard Student is stocked with photo, temperature, sound, infrared and motion sensors already on-board, providing Makers the ability to easily create sensory experiments. Its OLED display supports both text and graphics, and is visible in bright settings — something that will surely come in handy in well-lit environments like classrooms. In addition, the board features several built-in components as well as a breadboard area to hold external parts.
In what should make for an ideal supplement to STEM programs across the world, the XPlorerBoard is currently seeking $10,000 on Kickstarter. If all goes to plan, the team hopes to begin assembly and testing in early spring 2015, with shipping to backers slated for May 2015. Interested in learning more or backing the ATmega328P based project? Head over to its official page here.