June 1, 2022

PrimaSTEM - a tool for teaching children the basics of programming, logic and mathematics without screens.

Hi, my name is Andrei Chanov. For several years, despite what is happening around, especially now ... I have been making a complex for teaching children from the age of 4 the basics of programming, logic and mathematics without using electronic devices with screens.

Now there is something to show. Please take a few minutes of your time.

[Ru] Эта же история проекта, но на русском языке здесь -> https://www.chanov.ru/prima

Remote-desk for installing the program, program blocks, robot and the result of code execution.

📺 Who is lazy to read, you can safely run through the pictures or immediately watch the video (preferably with sound) which will return to childhood for 6 minutes, all show and tell you YouTube -> https://youtu.be/vwyeREbCHak(English subtitles available)

💰 I'll answer the question "How much is it, where do I buy it?" right away. I'm not selling now, "Just showing" :) Perhaps in the near future I will make a crowdfunding and release by order of the batch. About the retail, I will not think about it, it's too early. You can sign up for the newsletter about the release of a retail batch or the start of crowdfunding via the Google form here ->https://forms.gle/vfJXhBomVXXAAp8C7

For fans of the epistolary genre, I will continue.

What is it?

This is a training complex consisting of a robot, a remote control to program its movements, and blocks which make up the program of movement.

What's it for?

I will repeat myself, but I can not say it better than at the beginning: to teach children from 4 years old the basics of programming, logic and mathematics without the use of electronic devices with screens. In simple words, it is a tool for teaching children in a playful and visual form the concepts of numbers, left turns, right turns, algorithms, logic, programming basics, arithmetic operations, negative and random numbers, progressions and geometry.

🎯 The main goal of learning is to objectify and visualize programming processes, to make sense of their results.

Here we get to the "Now give me the slides!" moment. :)
This is a short video - a presentation of 6 minutes (English & Italian subtitles available), they will fly by quickly and interestingly, will all drive, draw and show-tell about the functionality, turn on the sound :)

Video presentation of the complex functionality. (En, It subtitles) -> https://youtu.be/Ztq_I1WBiVo

Presentation about the basic functionality.

Powerful move, huh? :)

At the beginning simple commands are studied through maze games (usually using cards with logical cells): Forward, Right and Left, then numbers are added through the concept of operator Repeat (in programming - cycle), then you can introduce the training Function, as a block of similar actions to be called during the execution of the program. At this stage there is an understanding of the construction of algorithms and rather complex programs.

After mastering the base we proceed to the study of angles and distances, the operations of addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, reduction and extraction of the root, the concept of zero and negative numbers, that is, the visualization of mathematics and geometry. And then there is complete freedom of creativity, thanks to the possibility of setting the marker for drawing and dynamic change in the execution of the program distances and angles. I will add that there are also random numbers and directions. This is already implemented functional, and how much more in the plans... it's a perfectionist's trouble, I hardly stopped :)

An example of the result of executing a program to draw a spiral using dynamic variable increment in a loop.

That's it, in a few words,

I tried to tell you what you can teach.

Well, after that, what knowledge can a child go to school with? Or rather, you can ask whether the child will go to first grade, at least after basic training? :) The child gets a mathematical and algorithmic base, it's a preparation for school and the first step before mastering Scratch, Logo or Minecraft programming on the computer.

Mathematical drawing using variable change and negative numbers. -> https://youtu.be/6Zoyku27mO8

Mathematical drawing using variable change and negative numbers.

Mathematical drawing 2. -> https://youtu.be/VgiWu200EGw

Drawing of the heart.

📺 See more video at YouTubehttps://www.youtube.com/@primastem

Who is it for?

It is clear that it is for children. They use it in the process of playing, but in fact it is a flexible tool for the teacher, which allows through the game tasks in passing to teach a variety of subjects: from mathematics and programming to physics, history, geography, and is limited only by the skill and imagination of the teacher.

🕰️ I will add some links to the history, for those who are interested in "where the legs grow from". :)

The idea of using a mechanical platform - a robot for learning programming is not new, in the 80's in Europe and the USA cheap "home computers" penetrated into homes and schools and started to be used for teaching children (we are talking about Commodore, Amiga, Apple II, ZXSpectrum, etc.). Here are some links about this subject:

- History of development of robot-turtles as peripheral devices for personal computers → https://roamerrobot.tumblr.com/post/23079345849/the-history-of-turtle-robots-

- A short article about a very interesting person, an education theorist, the founder of the theory of artificial intelligence, the creator of LOGO - the language for teaching children programming - Seymour Paperthttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seymour_Papert

- A collection of videos about the history of the creation of LOGO from participant Cynthia Solomonhttps://www.youtube.com/user/cynthiaso/ѵіԁеоѕ

Today on the market there are several similar projects that develop the concept of visual and tactile programming. Several years ago this concept was resurrected on Kickstarter by Cubetto project, and then some guys from China with Matata.
Both projects are peculiar, my project also has its own view: I tried to take the most out of the original ideas of LOGO, which can be applied to this concept of the device without using the screen.

For fans of "The Lord of the Rings" and "War and Peace" I will continue to rush with words, I really want to at least briefly tell you about the journey undertaken.

How is it done?

Everything is clear with the idea: you run with it, think it up, watch it, read it, study it, change it, and so on in a circle, but the translation into iron is a separate story. I had to become an industrial designer, a designer, an electronics engineer, NC machine operator, electronics assembler, woodworker, a project manager - one for all, except for the professional programming of microcontrollers :) Some new skills have appeared, and somehow everything came together, turned into a whirlwind. I was lucky with my consultants in electronics, which, however, is not my specialty (I am an information technology engineer), they have helped me to pull together the ideas and send me in the right direction. The first software part was done by my friend Yuri.

The first prototypes were quite absurd technically, visually and functionally.

History of prototypes and production.

Over time, after many iterations, the functionality, element base, technology, and design became established. Production has made adjustments to the design, the latest version is not so refined, but quite technological for production. The cases are made of beech and plywood, the coating is linseed oil for children's furniture. The remote control and the robot communicate with each other via Bluetooth (BLE), NFC antennas in the remote control, and NFC tags in the chips (a technology similar to contactless payment).

Designs devices in a CAD environment.

Now I already have MVP (minimum viable product) and produced a small pre-production batch (7 kits). For its production I ordered electronic boards from China, components and materials also had to take from there, wood and consumables of course local. I assembled it and made it by myself, full hand assembling with my hobby machines and tools in my garage. Those who have tried production understand how much work it costs to make a modest pre-production batch; those who have not tried, do not start.

Some pre-production models.

What's next?

I'm planning a pilot implementation in centers of additional education, in groups of preschool children. And then there is the most difficult stage for the startup - the "valley of death", you need to bring the project to market, profit, and development, until interest and funds run out.

The result of the program to draw the polygon "snowflake".

What is it now?

PrimaSTEM is my attempt to make something that people need, that is tangible and beautiful.

Now I am working on attracting investments, opening an office and production in the EU (France). I am ready for cooperation and partnership on favorable terms for you.

Andrei Chanov, founder & CTO.

more info -> primastem.com
mail → primastem@gmail.com