As coding becomes more and more an essential part of education and a basic literacy in the digital age, we also have to innovate tools and learn how to engage kids at a young age. The KittenBot Future Board ESP32 AIOT Python Education Kit, priced at $30, seeks to help achieve bright futures for the younger generation. The board, developed specifically for educational purposes, is suitable to help children learn and experience a number of hot topics in technology today, including the IoT and AI.
The learning kit features a 160x128 full-color TFT screen, providing real-time feedback and interaction as kids work with it. A built-in WiFi and Bluetooth module makes it perfect for exploring IoT applications, and it easily transitions to new ecosystems with edge-connectors that are identical to BBC Micro:bit. The design also features an exposed backside to allow students to learn directly about sensors and circuitry and to minimize the board’s volume.
Based on the ESP32-WROVER-B, the Future Board supports both graphical and text-based programming. Kittenblock, the graphical language, is based on Scratch3.0, while Kittencode is for Python3 and MicroPython programming. It all runs on a specially designed FutureOS GUI, which both enables storage expansion via an SD card slot and allows for functions such as storing and selecting from multiple programs. For more feedback and interaction, a speech recognition module able to recognize Chinese and English is included, as well as an on-board speaker. The kit is powered via a 3.7V battery or USB.
In a video demonstration, the Future Board can be seen doing everything from running a SpongeBob animation and controlling the mechanical parts of a dollhouse to displaying a functioning compass and other sensor data. Built to be both dynamic and adaptable, the kit seems like a great fit to engage a range of ages and interests as we keep adapting education to an increasingly technological world.
This board is kind of what I would like to see the Micro:bit become!