These days, parents looking to teach their children about robotics or electronics have a plethora of choices from simple toddler toys to high-tech motor kits. Available for pre-order today (Feb. 7), Tenka Labs Circuit Cubes provides a simple, yet engaging way for children to learn about circuits while they add lights and motors to standard Lego creations.
The brainchild of Nate Macdonald and John Schuster, a pair of public school educators from California, Circuit Cubes are available in a choice of three $59.99 kits: Whacky Wheels, Bright Lights and Smart Art.
Each of the kits comes with the same three cubes: a rechargeable battery module, a motor and a light. The modules have standard Lego pegs and holes, but when you attach them to each other, the power flows from the battery into one or both of the other cubes to create a simple circuit. The kits also come with a few jumper wires you can use to connect the modules if they aren't right next to each other.
Each of the kits comes with a series of Lego-compatible blocks and other parts you can use for to complete different projects. The Whacky Wheels kit has the parts for building a car with moving wheels and a light while Bright Lights lets you make a flashlight and Smart Art ends up as a drawing robot.
At first glance, the Circuit Cubes look a bit like the modules you'll find in one of littleBits's gadget building kits. However, the Cube's LEGO-compatibility is a game-changer, allowing you to use the modules to enhance anything you can build with bricks.To make a moving car with littleBits, you need to use some folded construction paper and a loose plastic.
To make a moving vehicle with Circuit Cubes, you can either use the bricks that come with the Whacky Wheels kit or build upon any Lego creation from your existing set. So no matter which kit you get, you'll be able to build an infinite number of very cool toys while very quietly learning about how circuits work.
You can reserve any of three kits by visiting the Tenka Labs website. Orders are expected to ship later this spring.