A toy to teach kids combinatorics, showing them different outcomes depending on their choices
Kids ages 5–7
Physical Computing (PComp) and Introduction to Computational Media (ICM)
Ideate and produce a toy with both a physical and digital interface to teach children basic computational thinking.
VIDEO OF WORKING PROTOTYPE
Arduino Uno (programmed in C++ on the Arduino IDE), stranded wire, magnetic snaps (used as switches), 10K-ohm resistors (see schematic/pinout diagrams below)
Designed in Illustrator, programmed in P5.js
Wooden readymades: box, drawers, frame; cloth; hollow elastic ribbons; laser-cut wooden components
HOW IT WORKS
The working prototype documented here has two main parts: a physical interface and a digital interface.
The physical interface resembles a closet. It’s a a box with magnetic snap switches programmed to send eight different signals to a digital interface (four weather and four outfit options); closing a switch sends the signal. In the digital interface, ideally on a tablet, a little girl named Cova waits in her room for the user to define what the day is like and what she’ll be wearing. I coded and uploaded the tangible element (PComp) to an Arduino Uno and programmed the digital interface in P5.js, connecting them via serial communication.
Sebastián Morales, Rushali Paratey, Jingwen Zu, and Kat Sullivan for their tech aid; Paula Ceballos and Fran Rodríguez for their fabrication advice; my niece Natalia for user-testing, giving feedback, and being my model for the video (and everybody that helped me make this work!)