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New Lego-Compatible Blocks Teach Kids to Code

Parents looking to give their kids a leg up in school and a head start on the 21st century job market have a new option in MakeBlock's Neuron electronic building block platform. Available for pre-order on Kickstarter in several different kits, Neuron features a variety of input, output, sensor and control blocks you can attach to each other or to Lego-compatible blocks.

Credit: Makeblock

(Image credit: Makeblock)

The kits come with blocks equipped with color and sound sensors, lights, speakers, voice recognition, buttons and knobs. There are also power and wireless blocks. The blocks snap together with pins and run on proprietary software for Android, iOS or even Windows, and connect via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi blocks. You can use them by themselves or attach them to your Legos.

Makeblock says the Neuron set is simple enough for those without any previous programming experience. It also publishes guidebooks that show users how to build things like a pet feeder or plant-watering system step by step.

Makeblock's Kickstarter campaign for pre-orders launched today (March 8). As of Wednesday morning, early bird priced kits costing $39 were already sold out, and the next cheapest kit costs $49. The company hasn't yet determined the retail pricing following the Kickstarter campaign, but it expects broad availability in June.

Althea Chang is Associate Director of Content Development for Consumer Reports and was previously a Senior Writer for Tom's Guide, covering mobile devices, health and fitness gadgets and car tech.