Think coding is boring? Meet Hackaball, a programmable ball that teaches kids how to code by playing games.
Inside it are sensors that detect motions – it knows when it's dropped, bounced, kicked, or when it's still. Using the companion iPad app, you can program Hackaball to behave how you want.
It comes preloaded with games, but once you've mastered them, you can make your own using the app. Kids can use the simple block-building UI to add sounds, lighting effects using the LEDs and have it vibrate.
All you do is pick an effect, and assign it an action – light up when you double tap, spin, or shake it, say. Start playing with the Hackaball, and it'll respond accordingly. As kids play with it, it will reward them by unlocking new features and challenge them with broken games to fix.
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Because it's programmable, it will do anything you want it to. Kids have made it work as a magic 8 ball, alarm clock, and even a whoopee cushion.
It contains a gyro, accelerometer, vibration motor, nine LEDs, rechargeable battery, memory to save your sounds and a speaker.
And it's tough too. Its brains are contained in a plastic case that's surrounded by a silicone membrane which acts as a shock absorber. Plus the silicone skin is strong and stretchy, and diffuses the LED lights to make patterns.
Anything that teaches kids how to code gets the thumbs-up from us. It costs $69, and should ship in December.