Bringing all your geeky ideas to life is easier now than ever! Components are available practically everywhere, and you can find many step-by-step guides all over the ‘net that can walk you through what you want to know. Unfortunately though, the best start-up tools for electronic creation aren’t free, but you do have few options.
You can teach yourself how to build your own projects (who doesn’t love a good DIY?) but expect to pay around $60 for popular components from official online stores.
You can always source your own components or buy kits online, but the ones on Amazon and eBay aren’t much cheaper. Not to mention, you could spend more time than you’d like searching for specific problem-solving videos.
You can decide on a subscription box service that delivers everything you need right to your door for as low as $29.99 per month.
If you choose option #3 (which sounds like the best one, right?), we suggest you subscribe to Creation Crate.
Creation Crate is a new subscription box that mails you everything you need to get started on building electronic projects.
With every box you’ll receive UNO R3 (a microcontroller board that’s basically a small computer used to control and power everything), an instruction booklet that includes a step-by-step guide, educational info about each component, a fritzing diagram (a great open source tool for teaching, sharing, and prototyping electronic projects), and the programming code needed to run your projects.
There’s a new project every month, and each box will have everything you need.
The company’s teacher-designed curriculum is said to be one of the most educational and hands-on in the world of coding and programming. You’ll develop new programming abilities month after month, so once you’ve completed the 12-month curriculum you’ll have some of the same expertise as college-level computer science students.
What you’ll learn in the first three months:
Month 1: Mood Lamp Project
The first project will teach you how to build a “mood lamp” that has different color LEDs inside. You’ll learn to program the lamp to change colors and only turn on when it’s dark out. You’ll begin with learning Arduino IDE setup (which you can use to actually have your project manufactured), how to prototype with a breadboard (not the type you make sandwiches with), and so much more.
Month 2: Memory Box Game
The second month of Creation Crate will teach you some programming basics like random numbers, musical notes, functions, and constants. The treat is learning how to create a fun game that tests your memorization skills by having you recall randomly-generated sequences of multi-colored LEDs. Once you match each pattern of LED movement, you’ll level up, but the pattern gets longer and longer each time. After you get it right ten times, the game speeds up the patterns.
Month 3: Distance Detector
You know how bats use sonar to gauge how far away an object is? Well, that’s essentially what you will learn how to do in week 12, but with programming. You’ll be creating an ultrasonic sensor that uses echolocation to detect the distance of an object.
But wait, there’s more!
The projects you get from Creation Crate get progressively more difficult, so you’re challenged to become a better creator. No prior programming experience is necessary, and the boxes include information to help break down the tech-y lingo. There’s an online classroom set up for those who want watch video tutorials, and the entire curriculum is Stem.org approved, so whether you’re 12 or 75, you know you’re learning the good stuff.