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Project Bloks is a new open hardware platform that Google is cooking up, with a target of bringing programming concepts to kids by allowing them to do it with their hands. There have been similar projects in the past, but Google is looking at making this new platform as a way to remove the technical barriers for the developers, designers, and researchers. While this means Google isn’t working on an end product, it will allow for other companies to use this as a springboard in creating tools for educators later on down the line. With schools looking into bringing technology and programming into the classroom, having another tool on their belt is exactly what they need.

As someone who has tried to teach programming in the past, the hardest thing to do is getting students past becoming frustrated and let down due to syntax, or similar errors. The concept of tangible code modules, meant to snap together without worrying about these things would remove what might be the biggest hurdle for young programmers. Products stemming from Project Bloks could lead to making programming as easy as building a Lego set.A picture of the top and bottom of a Baseboard.Google has a proven track record with the Android operating system, where companies like Samsung were able to make products that became a staple of smartphones. If history repeats itself, this could be a whole new way for the average person to get in touch with how electronics work. In a world where everyone is surrounded by all kinds of electronics from their phone to their car, understanding how electronics and coding works is an essential skill to have.

The project site includes examples such as making a sensor that turns on a light when the temperature drops, a kit to interact with an externally connected robot, and a small music creation box. The possibilities are endless and easy enough for anyone to pick up and start building. By snapping together code modules, it will be up to the minds of the users to mix and match amazing creations. Like with crowdsourcing, some of the most interesting projects coming out of the woodworks are from your average consumer.An image of 21 Puck concepts.This information has all been recently released, but it has a lot of electronics enthusiasts interested in seeing where this technology leads. Currently, they are planning on having research studies later this year and are accepting signups now. By the end of the year, we should start seeing a lot more information start to roll in. I for one will be keeping tabs on all of the updates that come out, and hoping that I am someone who is tapped for one of their research studies!

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