Google has announced Project Bloks, a new platform for building physical coding experiences for kids. As a platform, Project Bloks is meant to help kids learn to code by making the experience physical, allowing them to learn to think about how to solve computational problems while they play.
Project Bloks is also meant to help lower the barriers for researchers, developers and designers looking to create this hands-on experiences. From Google:
However, designing kits for tangible programming is challenging—requiring the resources and time to develop both the software and the hardware. Our goal is to remove those barriers. By creating an open platform, Project Bloks will allow designers, developers and researchers to focus on innovating, experimenting and creating new ways to help kids develop computational thinking. Our vision is that, one day, the Project Bloks platform becomes for tangible programming what Blockly is for on-screen programming.
The system itself is made up of three components: the Brain Board, Base Boards, and Pucks. The Pucks are the part of the system that can be programmed with different instructions, and can be switches, dials or buttons. Pucks then attach to Base Boards, which can be connected to one another in any order and orientation. Finally, the Base Boards are connected to the Brain Board, which receives and processes the instructions before sending them to a connected device.
At the moment, Google says that it is taking signups for those interested in participating in a Project Bloks research study to take place later this year. If you're interested in learning much more about Project Bloks, you can check out Google's full blog post, along with its detailed position paper.