By Andrew Liszewski
While as a kid I really had no interest in electronics but these days I wish it was a skill I had at my disposal thanks to websites like MAKE who have some really great DIY projects that unfortunately seem to always require a bit of wiring or soldering.
So if there are any parents out there who are looking to start their children down the path to electronics know-how let me suggest starting them off with these. Snap Circuits are kind of like Lego in that they can be assembled and disassembled with ease but instead of constructing pirate ships or little towns your kids will end up with actual functioning devices like radios, digital voice recorders and more than 500 other projects.
The Snap Circuits kits are available in a variety of sizes starting at $29.95. Pictured above is the Snap Circuits Pro Model which is available at Speedydog for $80.96.
I had a Radio Shack 300-in-one electronics kit with the little spring contacts and wires. I’ve been interested in seeing how these snap circuits (which have been around for quite some time now) worked in real life, but figured they’d disappear sooner or later along with all the other electronics that’s disappearing.
Back when you didn’t have a computer in every house, and tapes were still cool it was neat for kids to design a “big ear” amplifier, or a buzzer that turned on when the lights went out.
Now that you can go to the toy store and get a video games system for the cost of the snap circuit pro, or toy cellphones that really work, or an MP3 player – there isn’t as much draw.
What we need now is a electronics kit that let’s kids use the ARM9 processor with the color LCD display and the GSM cell phone internet connection. Attach the processor to the lcd and modem, drop in the TCP/IP software and JPEG interpreter, and *poof* an instant photo frame that not only your grandparents will be surprised at, but your peers at school will want.
Lego’s NXT is about as close as we can get now, and it’s as expensive as newly released video game systems.
I suppose I’ll have to do it myself.
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Interested in electronics? Check out the projects at http://ubasics.com
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