As my son gets older (8 years old now), I was thinking to teach electronics, programing or both to him somehow. As I looking around just pop up something called LightUp on the Kickstarter.
I immediately jumped in to it, hoping that I'll get it to Christmas of 2013.
It didn't happened. After long waiting I got the kit sometime in Autumn 2014. It became a Christmas present for 2014.
My son started to play with the electronics part of the kit but not touched the MCU module included. As he reached the point making all of the tasks was included in the iOS app (what is unfortunately not too much), I tried to setup the MCU.
It was something like two month ago, and it was a major failure. I had two problem with it. The first is theoretical. I don't believe that is the best language to teach an 8 year old to program is the C++ even it is the simpler arduino's one. The second is the driver.
LightUp partnered with codebender to provide programing environment to the kit. Codebender is nothing else just an online Arduino IDE. They provide a driver pack, what is able to connect to virtually every Arduino compatible board. But the driver pack was not working with the LightUp MCU on my desk.
The story was put aside in this point.
A few days ago I seen, that my son started to play with the LightUp kit. This was a good indication to put some further work into the setup.
Went to codebender, downloaded the driver installed it, and the result was the same as two month ago:
- Checked the device ID.
- Extracted the LightUp "driver" (it is just an inf and cat file) from the Codebender installer (7-Zip is my best friend).
- Deleted the cat file
- Hacked the device ID into the inf file
- Went back to one of my previous posts: http://pakahuszar.blogspot.hu/2014/05/windows-81-vs-microchip-cdc.html
- And signed the hacked inf file
Finally I went to the CodeBender side to try it. When I started the IDE for the LightUp a LED blinking project was showing up:
What I see about the LightUp: This is an unfinished something. After a good start they lost their tempo. The idea to check the circuit with a camera is exciting, but they got nothing more. A large amount of example circuits and a kid friendly programing environment is missing.
In addition tons of far better kits are exists on the market (for example littlebits), what is kid friendly and gives the possibility to grow further. This one not.