Blokdots Make Hardware Prototyping Easier by Taking the Guess Work Out of Programming

Blokdots is an interesting easy to use prototyping platform created by German designer Olivier Bruckner that lets user’s program hardware…

Cabe Atwell
2 years ago

Blokdots is an interesting easy to use prototyping platform created by German designer Olivier Bruckner that lets users program hardware components before they are even connected. Bruckner designed Blokdots taking inspiration from electronic products that feature quick-connect electronic hardware and drag-and-drop programming, like littleBits, LEGO Mindstorm, and Google’s Project Bloks. While those platforms are great for kids to learn how to build and code projects, they are limited in scope for professional use cases, such as prototyping.

Blokdots consists of individual bloks — pre-soldered hardware components, including actuators, LEDs, potentiometers, motors, and sensors that are outfitted with a 3.5mm jack, allowing them to be connected to a central ‘brain’ (hub). Using those jacks enable users with no knowledge of electrical engineering, project making, or soldering skills to prototype in a matter of minutes. The brain also acts as the power source (via USB) that the other components can draw from.

Programming projects are done via the Blokdots app, which offers a GUI with a list of selectable components, which can then be assigned certain variables. Bruckner explains, “The components are selected and then connected to each other in an “if this, then that” manor. Prototypes can be set up in a manner that is similar to natural sentences: ‘If button is pressed once, then LED should blink three times.’ There is no limit to how many of those connections can be built.”

What’s more, the app lets you test your prototypes with a Live View window that shows what components are connected, how they can be controlled, and if they are functioning correctly. Once the prototype is completed, users can then convert their code over to JavaScript, and shared with others who would like to build on your design. Another great feature of the app is that it can be used with the Arduino Uno and Seeed’s Grove modules as well, which can be utilized to expand project builds.

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