Arduino - arduino.cc
The Arduino is a reference in the maker world. It was born for design students and today it is present in the many academical areas: from arts to engineering, and it is used by several age groups, from children to graduation students. Developed in 2005, it is the oldest microcontroller based open-source platform for rapid prototyping. It has a big community of users and many tutorials, examples and documentation on the internet. Its major asset is to allow building various kinds of gadgets, but it needs electronics knowledge, being a complicating factor for beginners and children.
GoGo Board - gogoboard.org
However, there are similar solutions, that is the case of GoGo board platform. Pioneer solution in pedagogical robotics, it is also an open-source board. It was developed in 2001, having 8 analog inputs, 4 motors outputs and IR sensor for remote control.
Through our pedagogical practices with many age groups we have tried to use both platforms, because they are complementary: the students begin to use the GoGo Board, and after that they use the Arduino. This way, it is possible to provide a slow increasing of difficulty, with less frustration for students. The solution is very satisfactory, but in the moment that students begin to use the Arduino they don’t feel comfortable programming and building at the same time.
To simplify this step, we developed a board named Learn Shield. It has many features: RGB LED to create light effects, Speaker for sound generation, outputs for 2 DC motors and 6 servo motors, Bluetooth Android-compatible-module connector, 6 input sensors with pull-up or pull-down mode selection and serial shift chip to multiply outputs. This gives the same simplicity of GoGo Board in the Arduino platform. Now it is possible to make simple and very funny experiments, providing for the students a playful user experience. See example: AR2D2UINO – The DIY robot controlled by Android made with scraps.
LEARN SHIELD - BREADBOARDLESS SOLUTION FOR MANY EXPERIENCES
AR2D2UINO - Build your own R2D2 with Arduino