Pip is a retro games console for kids to learn coding

Pip is a retro games console for kids to learn coding
From TechCrunch - November 16, 2017

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has been incredibly successful at sparking all sorts of creativity via its low cost microcomputers, which arrived in the market back in 2012. Its core electronics are also indirectly responsible for UK-based learn-to-code startups like Kano and pi-top, which have built devices and VC-backed businesses atop Pi.

Well heres another UK startup using Pi electronics as the foundation for an edtech business idea. Their device-in-the-makingPip, which is currently raising crowdfunds on Kickstarter, is powered by the Raspberry Pi Compute Module set within a handheld console gaming casing that packs a touchscreen, plus speaker, control buttons, multiple ports and even some colored LEDs.

The idea is to engage kids with a retro games device which also doubles as a code learning environment via a browser-based platform, called Curiosity. A second strand to their concept will invite budding hardware hackers to get plugging and playing via a connector on the console that can be used with a maker expansion pack that contains a breadboard attachment for tinkering and learning about electronics.

The team says their software platform will support coding in JavaScript, Python, Lua, HTML/CSS and PHP. While the device will be bundled with step-by- step tutorials to show the basicsfrom coding Snake, to making LEDs flash, to, they claim, programing smart devices.

Thats the grand vision. For now Pip remains a prototypeand the Glasgow, UK based startup still needs to reach its 30k funding goal on Kickstarter, though its already around half way there after a few days running the campaign.

Early bird pre-order pricing for the Pip device is 150, with the intended future RRP being 200.

Its true that kids today are already pretty spoiled for choice when it comes to learn to code and/or hardware hack gizmos parents can buy them. So we asked Pips founders what makes their approach different?

They described pocket-sized portability as Pips main USPcombined with its integrated touchscreen and friction-free, open-ended programmability.

Pip is compatible with cheap electronics components that can be bought anywhere, as well as the thriving Raspberry Pi HAT ecosystem, said co-founders Sukhvir Dhillon andJason Frame.

Pip makes use of standard languages and tools. Yes, it supports block-based programming for beginners, but once theyre ready to move on we will support for a number of popular languages all of which have a huge number of freely available resources online for learning.

Our role in this is to remove the barriers between idea and creation, making these tools immediately usable. Then you can take this knowledge and skill to go on to make things beyond the Pip platform.


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