IoT toy for busy teacher/parent? Nabztag in 2016?
June 6, 2016 9:34 AM   Subscribe

My sister didn't persevere through Lego Mindstorms NXT setup, so what kind of interactive, maybe internet-connected toy could I get her?

My sister is an elementary school art teacher interested in interactive art (esp. kinetic) and Arduino. She flew out last month for the Maker Faire & was blown away, though commented that not enough stuff moved-- too many blinky lights.

I've previously sent her daughter my son's old Lego Mindstorms NXT, but I don't think they ever installed the app. She has somewhat low frustration tolerance with computer B.S. She's a quilter, so tedium isn't the problem, it's lack of progress.

I'd like to try again, with something as simple as Nabztag to pique her interest.

I think I'm going to get her the Inventor's Kit for Photon. It connects to the internet without needing anything like NAT traversal or YalerTunnel and you can program it in a Web IDE so she can use her iPad Pro 12.9" (she also has a recent-ish iPhone) or her Macbook without having to install anything. It also comes with a servo and you can wire stuff up without soldering (she doesn't know how & I don't want lead in her house).

If Philips made a servo controller for Hue that worked with IFTTT, that might be ideal, but they don't scare cats in the Netherlands?
posted by morganw to Technology (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Forgot to mention that I'm in California & she's in Maryland and I'm not able to provide much phone help, nor does she have local hacker friends.
posted by morganw at 9:37 AM on June 6, 2016

Have you seen OhBot? (video)
posted by BinaryApe at 10:55 AM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Check out the Little Bits gear, particularly the Smart Home Kit.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 1:20 PM on June 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sphero. It does take an app, but it's MUCH easier to use than many of the alternatives.

And a little bit of a different option: BreakoutEDU. That's more of a puzzle thing rather than straight up coding, but it's developing out of the MakerSpace movement.
posted by guster4lovers at 9:51 PM on June 6, 2016

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