Parallax (FLiP Module)
Project Completed: October 2018
The kind people at Parallax were super awesome and sent me a FLiP Module! The FliP Module is a microcontroller (like the Arduino), meaning that it's able to execute (even relatively complex) code with physical implications, like motors, LEDs, and so much more.
Unlike the Arduino, however, the FLiP can be coded with Parallax's drag-and-drop coding software called Blockly. Blockly makes learning how to code super simple and really, really fast.
For example, both of the setups below took me under 5 minutes to complete start to finish.
I downloaded the driver and went to blockly.parallax.com to set up my first code. The on-board LED is from port 26.
Next, I connected some of the LEDs I had from my old Arduino stuff and within minutes got each light blinking.
I was extremely impressed by the Parallax. Not only was it able to bridge the coding-to-real-world gap, but it did so in a way that felt impactful and not too coddled. The parts I was working with were real microcontrollers that plugged into breadboards just like those I had used with Arduino so many years ago. This microcontroller can handle C as well as Blockly, leaving room for kids to develop and learn within a similar environment.
So, for those of you who have been here since the beginning, I wholeheartedly give the Parallax FLiP Module 5/5 VeryHappyRobots.