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IPFS News Link • Techno Gadgets

A Toy Ball That Teaches Kids to Code

•, Margaret Rhodes

They'll still need tools to get them there. Kids older than 10 or so are covered: In the past few years, smart companies like littleBits and Kano have helped pave the way toward make learning about circuitry and motherboards as fun as playing with Legos.

But those products are still a bit sophisticated. Think of them like the grammar and syntax of computer science: great educational tools, so long as you can already grasp a few basic building blocks. To get those building blocks—let's call it the alphabet—younger kids can now turn to Hackaball, a ball that's also a computer, that gets programmed via an iPad app.

Creative consultancy MAP designed Hackaball (MAP actually did the industrial and packaging design for Kano, too) with Made by Many, a digital agency that conceived the original idea for Hackaball. It's a fairly simple toy, but it can do a lot and withstand a lot. Inside the silicone ball, which comes with a specially designed inner ring for shock-proofing, are a small computer, lights, an accelerometer, a sound chip, a microphone, and a vibrator for haptic cues. The programming lesson starts as soon as kids open the box and find a disassembled Hackaball, waiting to be snapped into place.