Why Playing With Tech Will Save Us

For me the real test of any toy begins with the magical moment you open the box for the first time. If I get that “Christmas morning” feeling, we’re off to a good start.

Lego hits the spot every now and then, because there’s nothing sweeter in the world than the magical rattle of plastic bricks. But I hold back a little.

With educational toys this is a tall order though. They’re a bit like vegetables, in that it’s possible for them to be delicious, but the fact that they’re good for us raises doubts (or maybe it’s just my self-destructive personality talking).

Opening my goodie box from Technology Will Save Us (TWSU), however, I found that familiar feeling of joy, mixed with a small measure that I was no longer a kid. Since this technically counts as work no matter what, I settled on happily playing around with the pretty shiny stuff.

TWSU kits are beautiful. Each is based on a theme or project, and comes with all the hardware you need to make it something fun while learning about technology (and a bunch of other things).

My DIY gamer kit included all the components for me to put together a handheld game console, powered by the Arduino Uno that came with it. Once you have the hardware setup, you can go online and peruse the step-by-step manuals and videos to code your own game. You are also encouraged to tap into the wider Arduino open source community and invent your own projects.

In my other little box of delights was a “Thirsty Plant Kit” where you build a solar-powered plaster of paris moisture sensor. I love the fact that it provides all kinds of outlets for teaching kids about biology, and even making them understand more about what they need in order to survive and thrive. Encourages caring for nature and living things. I didn’t go over how to turn it into a water bomb like the kit’s instructions, but I loved the option.

Technology Will Save Us co-founder and CEO Bethany Coby told me that her kit was designed to encourage active play and adventure with technology as well as learning. They should be a fun option for summer vacations, not something that poses as chores or extra studying.

Earlier this year TWSU launched a crowdfunding campaign for its first wearable, the Mover Kit, and reached 90% of its Kickstarter goal in the first 48 hours. Since then he has raised a total of over $129,000 from 1800 supporters in 60 countries. They have also garnered retail partnerships to market the kits in various regions and have been selected as one of the “Toy to Watch” in 2016 by Forbes.

For a self-confessed technophile, and someone who has worked with more than my fair share of startups, what stands out about these kits is the elegance with which they combine principles like agile development and user-centricity. apply.

These approaches – which require constant testing and iteration – are at the heart of product development when it comes to apps and software, but here you can find them in everything from the eye-catching color scheme of boxes to the careful layout and presentation of components. I see.

Everything is carefully labeled, with clear and prominent instructions that even an adult doesn’t manage to patronize. These are all things that make the user experience flow so smoothly, whether you’re a kid or a little older—but still—into their prime.

So if you’re starting to run out of ideas on what to do to keep kids entertained during the summer holidays, technology can actually come to the rescue in more ways than one.

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