We’ve seen a rush of DIY robotic and computing kits for kids as popularity has risen over the last year. Companies like littleBits and Kano have introduced a handful products that put the power of computing into the hands of everyone. A new subscription service called Thimble recently launched on Kickstarter with eyes on delivering a project each month. Based on the reception its received, there is plenty of interest from campaign backers.
Subscription services aren’t a new phenomenon. But we’ve seen increased interest across a variety of product categories for kids. Thimble plans to capitalizing on this interest by delivering a fresh DIY kit each month. The focus is to help kids “understand the fundamentals of electronics and how hardware and software come together.” Each project arrives with every piece required to build or improve your robot.
The first kit delivers a Wi-Fi-enabled robot with motorized wheels, a customizable platform and everything needed to control the system. Thimble has support for iOS and Android devices, which is an integral part of the DIY experience. Aside from providing tutorials for setting up each kit, the new system is programmed via the free app. The robot is controlled by the Arduino microcontroller platform. A Wi-Fi module provides access to your network and connects the robot to your device.
Once the project is complete, users can lean on the included tutorials or Thimble’s community of developers to install new apps and functions to the robot. The step-by-step tutorials provide directions for creating new apps or adding features. Thimble says that it has future plans for additional kits that include “quadcopters, alarm clocks, and LED cubes”, amongst other projects.
At the time of publishing, Thimble has raised $164,000, easily surpassing its initial goal of $25,000. The majority of the discounted subscription plans have been taken. Currently an introductory one-month plan can be had for $79 with three, six and 12-month options going for $209, $369, and $749 respectively.
Not ready to commit to a full-on subscription plan? We recommend littleBit’s standalone DIY projects. The base electronics kit goes for $99 and includes everything needed for eight different projects. Check out the full line of products for more options.
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