Chibitronics has launched “Love to Code” board to enable beginners to try out programming without having to install software. The tiny board comes with a clip that designed for “paper circuits”, and can be programmed with either Microsoft MakeCode editor for visual programming, or the company’s online editor inspired from Arduino IDE.
Love to Code board hardware (tentative) specifications:
- MCU – NXP Kinetis KL02 ARM Cortex M0+ @ 48 MHz with 32KB flash, 4KB RAM
- USB – 1x micro USB port used to power and program the board over a Y cable with micro USB and an audio jack to be connected to your smartphone as shown below)
- Expansion – 4x through holes for TXT, +5V, GND, and RGB, 6x programmable ports on clip to drive LED stickers, or used as switch / sensor inputs.
- Misc – Programming button, RGB LED
The way it works is that you can first create a paper circuit using LTC platform’s circuit stickers which can be LEDs, sensors, etc.. to be used on a sketchbook. You can now clip the board on the book, and connect a special micro USB to USB and audio jack cable with the former connected to a power supply or laptop to provide power, the latter connected to the 3.5mm audio jack to the programming device, which can be a smartphone, tablet, or almost anything with an audio jack and a display.
The board also required Internet connectivity as program is either done through a web browser either with MakeBlock visual programming editor or Chibitronics’ LTC Editor with a more traditional Arduino like text-based programming. They are various tutorials & projects to get started.
If you want to learn more about the motivation about this project, you can watch the 56-minute presentation by Bunnie on the product page, or read the slides of Bunnie’s presentation, mixing social justice with software & hardware technical details.
Love To Code Board is sold for $30 with the power & programming cable, but you’ll probably need to buy a few stickers and a sketchbook to make it useful. This version is still beta according to the shop, and they are looking at more experience programmers for now.