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Hackaball: Re-inventing the ball for a digital generation

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Lily

Creative Technologist, maker, writer, geek. @Lily_2point0
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Check out: Arduino Day 2015

This week, Made by Many launched their first Kickstarter campaign for Hackaball. This new toy aims to teach 6 to 10 year-olds to code without them noticing. At this age, programming should be all about fun and play. The rechargeable ball can vibrate, emit sounds and light, and connects to an iPad over Bluetooth to make games.

01_Hackaball_iPad

On the tablet, with a Scratch-like interface, children can choose from a few preset games, make their own, or fix broken ones. The more they play, the more features unlock in the app.

Its creators, Made by Many are an innovation-focused company, specialising in the delivery of digital products. They are based both in London and New York and divide their time between client work and in-house side projects, from which Hackaball was born almost 2 years ago.

IMG_0004

When it finally became more than a research piece, Made by Many partnered with Map, a consultancy specialising in industrial design, for the hardware parts. Map are best known for their work on Kano and the Chrome Web Lab at the Science Museum.

For Hackaball to reach its current state, a lot of research was done with children and their parents. The app is mostly visual (icons prevail over text), and the kids had their say on what each icon should represent. The overall design conveys the idea of exploration by making each game look like a planet in your very own galaxy.

“Hackaball is cosmic.”

The team have now taken their project to Kickstarter and need your help to reach their $100,000 target and get into production. For a mere $65, you receive a ball, that you need to assemble instead of just getting another product straight out of a box. By offering endless games possibilities only limited by imagination, the interest for Hackaball is bound to last.

IMG_0003On top of all these promising features, Hackaball offer even more exciting stretch goals. Expect to see different jacket colours, compatibility with Arduino and the possibility of adding modules on two spare pins, or the ability to upload your own voice. App-wise, you can expect improvements, Android support, and a way to check your child’s progress.

This “[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]computer you can throw around[/inlinetweet]” is following in the footsteps of Robot Turtles, Mirobot and Primo, who have been successful at engaging children to code through play. Hackaball’s fate is now in the hands of backers until April 2nd, and we wish them the very best of luck with their campaign.

Discover more on hackaball.com

Posted 05th Mar 2015
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