Friday, July 30, 2021
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Sparki: Smart Fun

Sparki is a new affordable, easy-to-use, and fun intro to programming, electronics, and robotics. (Photo: ArcBotics)

SPARKI is ArcBotics latest easy-to-use, fun and affordable intro to programming, electronics, and robotics. It is geared towards kids elementary-age and above, educators looking for an easy intro to robotics, parents eager to find something affordable but educational and fun, and DIY enthusiasts.  It’s simple enough for beginners, while being feature-packed enough to be a must-have even for pro users. 

Sparki works out of the box with its remote control. To write your own programs, just plug it in via USB, install the custom-enhanced Arduino software and try any of the dozens of example programs. ArcBotics have programs for every sensor and actuator on Sparki. Its code is available as Arduino code and all code is free to users and open-source.

Smart little Sparki is in use in over 1,000 schools, plus top universities including MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and Harvard. (Photo: ArcBotics)

This clever little bot is ArcBotics’ answer to robotics in education. Following their successful Kickstarter for Hexy the Hexapod, a low-cost open-source Arduino robot designed to be an intro to advanced robotics, ArcBotics realized  that there was also a need for a similar bot for beginners. They found that most other educational robots were expensive, difficult to use, lacked features, or had closed designs. Knowing that interest in programming and robotics is enormous, they set about to design a user-friendly robot that all ages can enjoy, while offering a wide range of possibilities. 

Young roboticists will learn basic skills such as line following, maze solving, room navigation, object retrieval, follow/hide from light sources, shape drawing, computer input (make a keyboard/mouse using sensors), and will also be able to play games with other Sparkis. As they play and progress, they’ll master more advances skills like PID loops, pathfinding algorithms, signal filtering, and heuristics.

You can buy your Sparki for $159.95 from Adafruit.