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Terry_TBR

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I wanted to get some opinions on my current plan to provide educators, parents, and kids with a modular kit to teach basic science and electronics. This is a follow on project to my senior design project where I built and flew an electrical payload on a high powered rocket to record flight data, ignite deployment charges, and so on.

What I am putting together is a basic kit with modular add-ons. The basic kit will contain the parts to make a circuit containing a PIC microcontroller, a switch block, and one sensor (pressure, accelerometer, temperature, etc). It will also have a small booklet that teaches the science behind the sensor, basic electronics, and so on. Once you have the basic kit, you can get add-on kits that use the same basic kit; you just add the new sensor and use the new booklet to learn about that sensor. If you go through all the kits then you will end up with a complete circuit containing all the different sensors and the software to work all of it. The software will be loaded via USB so you don't need a PIC programmer.

I will offer different versions in which one requires soldering, one doesn't require soldering, and so on. I may release the software code so they can compile the program and tweak it themselves but will have to write the code using a free compiler library (the one I used for the project is the HI-TECH C compiler which costs a few thousand... don't think anyone will want to buy that!!). I might write the software in ASM, C, and PICBASIC so that they can learn whatever type of programming they want.

The circuit can be used for any application in which you collect data with those sensors. You can fly it in a rocket, an RC plane, RC car, real car, bicycle, etc. Once the kids use it they can download the data to the computer and graph it in Excel or maybe I will write a graphing program for it.

Does this sound like something educators would use? Does this sound like something parents would use to teach their kits? Anything you would do differently based on the ideas above?
 

Indiana

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I certainly don't want to discourage you from your idea, but I think you would have to offer an advantage over places like Parallax. I'm sure you are aware them. It sounds like you have the same concept, using C instead of basic.
 

n5wd

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Sounds interesting. Selling proto kits for the education market can be tough, though. I've just spec'ed about $10K worth of curriculum/kits from Parallax for our new STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) academy and the reason they got chosen instead of some of the other proto kits around is that their package is the most turn-key - I do NOT want to have to re-invent all of the curriculum when I add units to a course. Oh, and it's taken about 2 years from my first look at the microcontroller/Boe Bot package to the point where it's about to be ordered for next school year, so it's definitely not a fast turn-around.

I'm always interested in looking at demo and review packages when you get it put togher, though, so keep us in mind, ok?
 

Terry_TBR

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I would have to look at the cost of those kits and such. I am not looking at this from a "make a company out of it" approach. The kits would cost enough to cover the parts and a little bit for my time. Not sure how that would compare to the other kits.
 
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