Technology Will Save Us is a new education technology start-up. They are on a mission “to provide families, educators and young people – of all ages, backgrounds and interests – new opportunities to learn and create using technology.”
Their kits include plant watering kits, DIY loudspeakers, synthesisers and hand held games. They also provide a pack for making your own “squishy circuits” with electro dough.
A few months ago, they very kindly sent us one of their DIY Gamer Kits to put together. This kit contains an arduino and allows different games to be coded, such as snake, breakout and more. With the Christmas break we finally had a chance to try it out and see how easy it was to build.
We followed the building instructions here, which were very comprehensive and easy to follow. Everything we needed to build the game was in the box, apart from the soldering iron, wire cutters, protective mat and safety glasses.
Although we have prior experience of soldering and didn’t need to use them, the instructions also included links to videos which showed the basics of soldering for those that need a little extra help. Also, the kit has large, well spaced solder pads which should prove easy to solder even for a beginner.
Once soldered, the LED screen could be connected.
And finally the front and back casings can be added.
If all this looks a bit scary, you can also buy pre-built versions of the kit which just need coding!
Once the gamer kit has been built it can be connected to a computer via the USB cable so that your code can be added to the Arduino. We’ve only tried the provided games so far, Snake and Flappy Bird, but other games can be coded and installed if you want to. There’s a library of games, and other ideas on the Technology Will Save Us website to provide inspiration.
Overall, the gamer kit took us about 2 hours to build, the only issue we had was making sure the screen was connected properly. Initially we had a few loose contacts but it wasn’t clear what the game should have looked like, so it wasn’t immediately obvious that pixels weren’t lighting up when they should! But the troubleshooting section of the instructions was helpful in showing us how to fix it.
Overall this would make a great project for any young, budding maker. It provides opportunities for developing soldering skills as well as coding skills. It’s a great piece of kit, and I’d highly recommend it. Thanks again to Technology Will Save us for the kit.
You can buy the DIY Gamer Kit from the Tech Will Save Us store here. If you already own an Arduino you can get the game kit for £30. Otherwise, the kit with an Arduino costs £65. The pre-built kit is a little more at £75.
If you’ve tried this kit for yourself, share your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: Technology Will Save Us sent me a free kit to review for the blog. They did not pay anything for this review.