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Pip is a retro game console for children to learn coding

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The Raspberry Pi Foundation has been incredibly successful in generating all kinds of creativity with its low-cost micro-computers, which arrived on the market in 2012. Its core electronics are also indirectly responsible for Learning in the UK. code startups like Kano and pi-top, who built devices and VC-based businesses on Pi.

Well, here is another British start-up who uses Pi electronics as the basis for an edtech business idea. Pip, who is currently creating crowdfunds on Kickstarter, is powered by the Raspberry Pi Compute Module which is housed in a portable console box that contains a touch screen, a speaker, control buttons, multiple ports and even LEDs.

The idea is to engage children with a retro gaming device that also serves as a code learning environment via a browser-based platform, called Curiosity. A second component of their concept will invite aspiring hardware hackers to plug and play via a console connector that can be used with a manufacturer extension pack that contains an attachment for tinkering and learning about the device. ;electronic.

The team claims that their software platform will support coding in JavaScript, Python, Lua, HTML / CSS and PHP. While the device will come with step-by-step tutorials to "show the basics" – from coding Snake, to blinking LEDs, to, they say, "smart device programming".

That's the big vision. For now, Pip remains a prototype – and the start-up based in Glasgow, UK, still has to reach its £ 30,000 Kickstarter financing goal, even though it's already halfway there a few days of campaign.

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The price of the pre-order pre-order for the Pip device is £ 150, the future RRP being £ 200.

It is also true that children today already have enough choice when it comes to learning how to code and / or tweak gadgets. materials that parents can buy. So we asked the founders of Pip what makes their approach different?

They described "pocket size portability" as Pip's "main USP" – associated with its "integrated touch screen and its open, frictionless programming capability".

"Pip is compatible with cheap electronic components that can be purchased anywhere, as well as with the flourishing Raspberry Pi HAT ecosystem," said Sukhvir Dhillon co-founders and Jason Frame.

"Pip uses standard languages ​​and tools.Yes, it supports bulk programming for beginners, but once they are ready to go ahead, we will take care a number of popular languages ​​… that have a large number of free resources available online to learn.

"Our role is to eliminate the barriers between idea and creation, making these tools immediately usable, then you can use that knowledge and skills to go beyond the platform Pip . "

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They also noted that Pip is also "always a Pi" – which means users "can easily swap the SD card, and Pip can become a capable desktop (connected to a monitor, mouse and keyboard), or even a retro-powered portable emulation station ".

Having the goal of supporting open standards and standard programming languages ​​could actually make the device longer and more useful than a code learning gadget that only supports programming via a proprietary and simplified system that a child could soon lose.

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Although a very large number learn to code the devices will fail to seriously reduce learning outcomes without the support of educational institutions to establish the use of the device. In a more structured learning environment to counter the problem of children who are bored. play in a drawer.

Pip's co-founders initially target the product at parents '(and / or major toy manufacturers') but say their long-term goal is to get the product (and the software platform of 39; subscription) in educational institutions. ]

"The software was developed so that students could write code and test it on any available equipment before using it on Pip itself – this means that schools do not have to buy a pip for every student, "they noted.

The seed team has been developing Pip since the end of 2016, supported by Scottish Enterprise, but without formal investors.

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At this point, they say that they have built five functional prototypes of their pre-production v5 model – including "circuit board built around the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and associated peripherals, high resolution touchscreen, integrated battery, six-molded resin housing with integrated kickstand ".

Although there is clearly still a long way to go to turn the prototype into an expedition product.

They have a Kickstarter timeline from August-September 2018 for Pip's expedition to lenders. But as always with crowdfunding campaigns, the usual strong reservations apply: you bet on an idea that might never succeed. Many projects funded by crowdfunding fail entirely to deliver.

The material can also be particularly complex. And even if a device does, it may take longer than expected and not be exactly what was originally charged – so, if you are happy to take a punt, it is also worthwhile to expect to delays.

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