Tenka Labs raises $2.1 million to turn Legos into kids’ engineering projects

Nate MacDonald and John Schuster spent far more than a ten years in educational facilities searching to educate students some simple principles of circuitry and engineering — but realized that just offering them a battery and a motor and expressing “go” was not plenty of.

So the two have begun Tenka Labs, a new corporation that patterns smaller blocks that run as areas of circuits that they can hook up to Lego bricks. There are 3 models: a battery, a motor and a light, all of which can be related to make creations like cars and trucks — and even a creepy going stuffed rabbit that MacDonald showed me — in an endeavor to educate youngsters some of the early principles of engineering. The corporation has raised $2.one million in seed financing for its launch.

“Students we ended up instructing about simple circuitry didn’t really recognize simple circuitry,” co-founder Nate MacDonald claimed. “When you acquired to people soldering, they ended up just blindly soldering. We needed to uncover a product or service that would enable educate them simple circuitry. Finally as it progressed we form of had a product or service. We didn’t want to just go immediately after the instructors, we needed it to be out there for all youngsters and mothers and fathers. We took that big concept of the block and two nails and brought it down to this dimensions.”

The blocks run specifically like you’d count on with models of a circuit — connecting them in sequence will get a distinctive end result than connecting them in parallel. They have smaller tiny pylons on the corners that routinely snap to other models to generate a circuit. For now, the corporation is focusing on these 3 factors, but it’s natural that some other simple areas would occur down the line (like a resister, for instance).

circuit cubes walker

The notion below is that Tenka Labs desires to capture students and give them a far better basis before they graduate to one thing far more advanced like a protoboard and get started developing far more highly developed circuits. MacDonald desires to focus on each instructors and lecture rooms — which will possible get some form of bulk lower price — in addition to just mothers and fathers. For now, all the things is offered in kits, like 1 that takes advantage of all 3 to generate a car or truck. The kits retail at about $60.

Each and every is made to be just the dimensions of Lego blocks and snap into numerous creations further than the kits that they’re presenting. The kits are out there for reservation and pre-purchase appropriate now. “Kids are familiar with it, they’re cozy with it,” MacDonald claimed. “Every kid has a pile of legos.”

Schuster also claimed that the corporation isn’t automatically searching to compete from what he phone calls “screen time,” when a kid could be enjoying with a smartphone or pill. But there has to be a position in the day where by they’re absent from screens and making use of their creativeness to make issues, he claimed.

“We know that we’re not from screen time, I’m not opposed, but there is a stability,” Schuster claimed. “But we assume with the maker movement theres a travel towards tactile play, and getting able to make blunders. The magnificent detail about generating creativeness, you are gonna have 6 youngsters developing 6 distinctive issues.”

Tenka Labs is, of system, not by yourself in trying to make these sort of early-engineering coaching goods. There are other corporations like LittleBits developing equivalent instruments to educate STEM essentials to students before they get started graduating to far more highly developed ideas, and that corporation raised $44.2 million in June on 2015. Schuster was not shy to say that there will surely be levels of competition likely ahead, and now the company’s up coming move is to display off the models at the New York Toy Reasonable to get issues begun.

“We want it to be analog, we want this to be one thing the youngsters require to find out the essentials before they go to a electronic product or service,” Schuster claimed. They require to recognize motor and gears. We integrate with the most prevalent developing block so we can make in 3 dimensions. We do the job with youngsters plenty of to know that you have to seriously ramp up the play aspect. We want to enable them go on this adventure. It’s not say hey we’re gonna find out about circuits, you every have to make a car or truck.”







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