Tag Archives: Plum Geek

Rewind: 27 STEM kits from 2015

These STEM toys from 2015 are helping to inspire the next generation of Makers.

STEM education has been a growing venture in schools across the country, with even the President himself making it a priority to encourage students as young as grade-school to pursue the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines. After all, these fields are changing the world rapidly within the areas of innovation, economic growth and employment. But let’s face it; these subjects don’t come easy to everyone, so how do we instill STEM in kids?

With this in mind, many startups have sought out new and exciting ways to entice the younger generation to explore their creativity and develop an interest in hands-on learning. Testament to that, here are several products from 2015 looking to inspire the next generation of Makers.

littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets


The Gizmos & Gadgets Kit is the ultimate invention toolbox, complete with motors, wheels, lights , switches, servos, buzzers and even the tools to build a remote control.



Jewelbots are programmable friendship bracelets that teach girls the basics of coding.



Thimble is a monthly subscription service that delivers fun electronic projects with guided tutorials and a helpful community.

Touch Board Starter Kit


Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Starter Kit contains everything you need to transform surfaces, objects or spaces into sensors.

Makey Makey GO


Small enough to fit on your keychain, backpack or bracelet, Makey Makey GO turns everyday objects into touchpads and combines them with the Internet. Say hello to the world’s first invention kit.



RePhone from Seeed Studio allows Makers to create a phone themselves in minutes and hack a new way to communicate with things.



mBot is an all-in-one, Arduino-compatible robot that supports wireless communication and employs Scratch 2.0-like coding.



Ringo is a miniature digital pet robot equipped with an accelerometer, a gyrosocope, six RGB LEDs, as well as sound and communication sensors.



Wink is an Arduino-driven robot designed to help transition students from graphical programming to more powerful written code languages. It’s also the sibling of the aforementioned Ringo.



Kano is a computer and coding kit for all ages that’s as simple as LEGO, powered by Raspberry Pi.

Primo Cubetto


Primo Cubetto is a smart wooden robot designed to teach kids the basics of coding away from the screen.



Petduino puts a DIY twist on the old-school Tamagotchi.



STEMI is a hexapod that can be built right at home and controlled via smartphone.



mCookies are quarter-sized, stackable modules from Microduino that enable young Makers to bring their LEGO projects to life.



Modulo is a set of tiny modular circuit boards that takes the hassle out of electronics.

The Crafty Robot


The Crafty Robot is a paper toy unlike any other — plug it into a USB port for 30 seconds, unplug it and you’ve got a moving robot.



Kamigami is an origami-style robot you can construct and program by yourself. Each one can be configured with a unique set of behaviors and characteristics through a drag-and-drop interface.



Phiro is a LEGO-compatible robotics toy that children can play with, code and innovate in various ways.



With Quirkbot, young Makers can devise and configure quirky robots (hence its name), blinking outfits and weird sounding creatures out of regular drinking straws.



Cannybots are LEGO-compatible, smart toy cars that introduce kids to the worlds of robotics, programming and 3D printing.



3DRacers is a Mario Kart-like indoor racing game that lets anyone design and 3D print their own car.

Volta Flyer


Volta Flyer is the world’s first DIY airplane kit that is solely powered by the sun.



Roby is a 3D-printed robotic machine that not only drives on four wheels, but can walk on two. If it falls, it can even pick itself up again with its pair of arms.

O Watch


O Watch is a DIY smartwatch for a kid, by a kid.



LocoRobo is a cute, inexpensive robot capable of being wirelessly programmed.



KamiBot is a programmable, smartphone-controlled paper robot.

Pixel Pals


Pixel Pals are easy-to-build, fun educational kits that grow from a project to a friend you can program.

Fiat Lux


Fiat Lux is an Arduino-compatible kit specifically designed for unique wearable projects.



AZIBOt is an open source, 3D-printed robot kit for STEM education in Africa.

Ringo is a palm-sized robot with a real personality

This Arduino-based digital pet robot features an accelerometer, gyrosocope, RGB LED lights, sound and communication sensors.

Well, it looks like we’ve come a long way since the days of pet rocks. While the concept of a digital pet may not be all that new (think Giga Pet, Furby, AIBO and Tamagotchi), a recent project from Plum Geek is looking to change the game with its palm-sized bot that not only has its own personality and is capable of responding to commands, but aspires to introduce children to programming as well.


Ringowhich has debuted on Kickstarter — is a super-friendly pet robot bug based on the Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and packed with a number of electronic goodies such as an accelerometer, gyroscope, communication sensors, six RGB LEDs, a music chirper and more.

“The robot was inspired and co-designed by my 1st grade daughter Hailey and my 3rd grade son Parker, who are both already writing C code. Ringo grew out of a project intended to build just one robot for my kids but we realized something much greater could be done in producing Ringo for the masses,” explains Kevin King, Plum Geek Founder. “We hope it will catch the curiosity of young engineers and also have a particular appeal to girls who may not otherwise become interested in coding and technology.”


The device is pre-loaded with 10 different behaviors, enabling a user to begin playing with it straight out of the box. Once activated, anyone can guide their robotic pet via a remote control. Shine the light in the dark and Ringo will chase the glow like a cat and a laser pointer. Draw a line on the floor and he’ll use his edge sensors to follow. Nudge him and his built-in accelerometer will decipher direction and begin heading towards your finger. Similarly, when tapped in scaredy mode, he will head the opposite way.

An embedded gyroscope is tasked with keeping Ringo pointing in the same direction, so no matter which way he is turned, he’ll return to his original position. Beyond that, Ringo navigates his surrounding area with “ninja-like” agility using a pair of pager motors, which can determine his current and desired location. Meanwhile, users can program his sensors to travel specific directions and distances.

Makers can activate and switch between behaviors using a remote control, while also customizing their own using standard Arduino functions and the Arduino IDE. Ringo’s embedded IR light sources can be enabled individually in any pattern and driven together simultaneously, which allows for remote signals to communicate with other Ringo bots or appliances. Furthermore, a 38 kHz receiver is designed to sense the modulated light signal produced by most TV remote controls.


“We have always been interested in the idea of the ‘digital pet,’ and for that matter, any kind of machine or robot that exhibits a personality.  That was the real driving force behind the design of Ringo.  We wanted to put some really useful parts on a circuit board that is very easy to program, then see what people do with it.  We’ve already written code to do much of the heavy lifting for you, and we’ve also written a pile code examples to get you started.”

Ringo charges his battery automatically whenever plugged into the programming adaptor, or when a USB cable is connected directly to his USB port. An LED lets a user see when he has completed charging.

While virtual pets may typically appeal to children, Ringo’s advanced capabilities and open-source hardware will likely to make it a favorite for “kids” of any age. Interested in learning more about this fun way to get young Makers into coding? Head over to Ringo’s official Kickstarter campaign, where the team has already exceeded its $12,000 goal. Shipment is expected to begin in May 2015.