This Robotic Puzzle Game Teaches Kids Basic Coding Skills

ActivePuzzle
ActivePuzzle

Kids don't need to look at a screen to learn the basics of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). A new electronic puzzle kit raising money on Kickstarter encourages kids to use their hands as well as their brains to put together robots that complete various tasks.

The game, called ActivePuzzle, utilizes the classic jigsaw puzzle pieces many kids already know. In this case, the slots and tabs that hold the parts together double as input and output channels.

Each piece serves a different function. One block stores the battery and supplies the robot with power; another holds a proximity sensor that allows it to "see" and follow objects in front of it. With up to 22 different blocks, ActivePuzzle is multiple robot toys in one, including a maze runner, a street light, a wake-up alarm, and a spinning dancer. (See it in action in the video below.)

Even though ActivePuzzle doesn't use computer screens, it's meant to act as a child's introduction to coding. The intuitive game teaches players concepts like sequencing, programming, and problem-solving—basics that are essential to people working in STEM fields.

Since the launch of its crowdfunding campaign on February 27, ActivePuzzle has already exceeded its initial goal and raised more than $24,000. Backers have until March 28 to reserve a kit of their own. A pledge of $78 gets you 16 puzzle pieces, while a $122 pledge gets you 22 pieces.

Buy it on Kickstarter.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Turn Your Laptop Into a Multi-Monitor Hub With This Lightweight Accessory

Mobile Pixels
Mobile Pixels

If your dining room table has been doubling as your work-from-home station over the past few months, you’re probably missing the extra space, supportive chair, and the dual-monitor setup at your old office. The Mobile Pixels Trio, a portable triple-screen laptop monitor accessory, is designed to give you the space that multiple monitors provide without needing to be hardwired in a cubicle.

The Mobile Pixels brand offers an innovative multi-screen laptop accessory that's easy to use. Once you fit the magnetized accessory to the back of your laptop and plug it in, you simply slide the extra screens out and start working. The product began on Indiegogo with a single monitor attachment, but the new Trio model comes with an additional monitor, bringing the total number of screens at your disposal to three.

The lightweight tool comes in two sizes, Trio (12.6 inches across) and Trio Max (14 inches), and is compatible with any Mac, Linux, Chrome, or Android device with a USB connection. The Mobile Pixels Trio and Trio Max can be configured however you want, so if you need one monitor to be in portrait mode for design and coding work, you just need to turn the screen and you're good to go.

Right now, both sizes are discounted, with the smaller screen going for $214.99 and the larger one for $269.99.

Price subject to change.

Mobile Pixels TRIO: Portable Dual Screen Laptop Monitor - $214.99

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