Northwestern University engineers have developed the first computer coding platform that enables kids to build and program sustainable, battery-free, energy-harvesting devices.
Called Battery-free MakeCode, the new tool is based on Microsoft MakeCode, a popular free online learn-to-code platform that introduces beginners to coding basics. The visual platform makes programming easy. Users simply drag and drop blocks of pre-made code to build games like Tetris, program devices that can count steps or make sounds, and create apps that connect sensors, screens, buttons and motors.
Battery-free MakeCode uses an extension that automatically and invisibly transforms MakeCode into a version that supports programming electronic devices that harvest energy from ambient sources, such as vibrations, movement, radio frequency transmissions and the sun.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.