Several weeks ago DFRobot launched their Kickstarter campaign for the BOSON Kit, a coding-free set of modular electronic building blocks designed for young inventors and teachers. As of 5/29/2017 the funding goal of roughly $37,000 has been reached so the this awesome looking kit is a go!
What is the BOSON Kit?
Per DFRobot’s marketing materials the kit
… was designed as a hands-on tool for STEM education in the classroom and beyond, Boson Kit is compatible with Legos, magnets, screws and Velcro, using its Internet of Things (IoT) module to allow everyday innovations to come to life. […] Boson Kit’s distinction is its coding-free functionality, providing users with an applied experience without the complexity of programming and wiring prior to use. The tool contains more than 50 different modules with varying functions, letting creators build a variety of inventive gadgets.
In other words, the kits provide a whole bunch of modules allowing for awesome experiments to be created. There are so many modules, the sky is the limit.
Please note that the promotional videos all use extra parts that are not included in the kit, but that is the charm and it demonstrates versatility. Use LEGO, stuff from around the house, bits and parts from other gadgets and kits, and create something awesome. Here is the introductory video:
You’ll notice that each module is either yellow, blue, pink or green. That is because each type of module is color coded based on its type:
There are 22 Input Modules, such as Push Button, Light Sensor, Joystick and Tilt Sensor. The Output Modules range from Servo, Motor, LED to Buzzer, and there are 11 total. Then there are the Function Modules. of which there are 9. They include things like IOT, Counting and Logic AND/OR/NOT Modules. And then there are 3 Power Modules. That’s a grand total of 45 different modules.
Things you can do with the BOSON STEM Kit
Looking at all of the different modules, there seem to be endless possibilities if you take into consideration that you can use things like LEGO or cardboard crafts to enhance the experiments. DFRobot has posted some examples on their site
What I really like is that DFRobot has already started uploading detailed project how-to videos to their YouTube channel. That is very promising and an indication that they stand behind their product and then some.
And as with all things ‘maker’ – once the kits start shipping we will start seeing awesome projects being created and shared online, so our kids can keep trying new things and learn along the way.
What about Coding?
The BOSON Kit is marketed as a ‘code-free’ STEM kit, yet integration with the Scratch Coding environment is also mentioned. What this means is that the bulk of the projects can be accomplished without coding, but that the BOSON Kit experience can be greatly enhanced by using a programming environment like Scratch.
Have I seen this before?
If you are interested in STEM activity, electronics and tinker kits, the BOSON Kit may remind you of the award-winning LittleBits kits. LittleBits has been around for years, and they have several well-liked kits on the market. The principle is more or less the same. Color-coded, magnetic modules that work out of the box and that allow you to combine and make awesome stuff.
I am sure there are lots of differences between BOSON and LittleBits, but the similarity can’t be denied. The LittleBits video above even features the “Inch Worm”, which appears to be more or less like the “Walking Robot” that BOSON advertises.
One difference appears to be the cost of the kits. LittleBits is somewhat on the pricey side; for example their Gadgets and Gizmos kit with, just 13 modules, retails for $199.00.on the LittleBits site (but can be had for a lot less on Amazon – make sure you pick the second edition) The BOSON kits appear to be a bit friendlier for your wallet (pricing below).
BOSON Kit – Pricing
There currently are 4 kits available:
- Starter Kit $45.00 (11 modules, at least 8 projects)
- Science Kit $109.00 (11 modules, at least 10 projects)
- Coding Kit $109.00 (15 modules, at least 10 projects)
- Inventor Kit $139 (36 modules, at least 30 projects)
For the Kickstarter campaign, they also have combo packs, for example Science + Coding + Inventor Kit for $309 (which is $100 off of the projected retail price).
The campaign runs for another 20 days, so there’s still time to get those early bird discounts.