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Meet SAM Labs that turns Kids into IoT- experts

SAM Labs allows creating interactive projects without the wearisome parts. You just charge up the parts, attach them to project and connect them together using the graphical software. The SAM Labs’ approach means that it is accessible to older kids and teens as well as families that are less-technically skilled.

Sparked into life in 2014, the company continue to make software and tools to help kids involved with the internet of things programming projects. The route of the company to market has usually been through parents to kids, the kits being accessible via London’s Science Museum, or the company’s website.

Embracing the play-based learning, the kits have many projects for children to play with including things like making electronics songs, creating a proximity-based online system and learning Morse code.

The SAM kits are small; battery powered building blocks that communicate with each other wirelessly through Bluetooth. Using the SAM app, which makes it easy to get the various blocks to interact; a button can turn the light on, start advanced sequence of a process, or send a Tweet.

Modules include buttons, light sensors, heat sensors, tilt sensors, sliders, servos, LED lights, buzzers, DC motors and many more, which can be organized to do an amazing number of fun things, as evidenced by the creation gallery of the company. In addition, the virtual ‘cloud’ module uses the camera of the computer to take photos or send messages out on social media.

All SAMs have micro USB ports for charging, and they must be individually charged. If you end up with few USB cables, you can swap SAMs over after charging them for a while. Although it is a slightly difficult to charge the SAMs individually, it is not a big deal.

When fully charged, the SAMs turn green.  To turn a SAM on, you need to press a small switch through the silicon casing. This is a bit awkward and your kids are likely to find it tricky.

There’s nothing that specifically helps you to physically connect SAMs to projects. However, the sticky tack and loom bands help you along the way!

After purchasing them, you will note that various SAM Labs comes with starter projects. The SAM Learn kits and SAM inventor have many projects to get a person started. This is very important as it’s good to work through guided activities to know what the technology can do.

The SAM software is easy to install and it notify you when to set the Bluetooth dongle into the computer. You should be careful when handling dongle, it’s small and you can easily lose track of it.

You can create an account and have all your projects saved to the cloud. You can also access sample projects such as those from the kits you have bought.

Since the software is graphical, you can just drag software components and SAMs and connect them together.  Navigation around the software is quite clunky and the company should improve. However, the basics are straightforward.

The software automatically detects all the SAMs that are turned on and the kids find it easy to wire things together.

Sometimes, SAMs lose connectivity. Fortunately, the SAM FAQ has several suggestions. Occasionally, turning a SAM on and off will make it get recognized.  Sometimes dragging it can do the trick.

The SAM Labs generally makes programming easier and enjoyable. Therefore, it’s good to expose your children to it as early as possible.

 

 

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