It’s true: Necessity often births invention. In the case of Microduino, the need to find a practical solution for a personal conundrum led to the creation of a line of educational products that inspire creativity in others.
Back in his college days, one of Microduino’s co-founders, an electrical engineering student, was monitoring a server room’s temperature, but tired of going to the room repeatedly to check it. In response, he used Arduino, the open-source electronic prototyping platform for creating interactive electronic objects, develop a device that would do the job for him. The downside: turning his idea into reality involved messy wiring, dangerous soldering, and complicated coding — a time-consuming and not-much-fun combination that could easily stand in the way of invention for anyone.
And that’s when the idea for Microduino was conceived.
“My partners and I wanted to create something that anyone could use to imagine a product and immediately just build it,” said Bin Feng, Microduino’s co-founder and chief executive officer. Launched in 2012, Microduino is an award-winning global designer, developer, manufacturer and seller of stackable electronic building blocks, related components, and in-class science, technology, engineer and mathematics (STEM) learning systems.
Bin and his partners developed Microduino modules to lower the barriers to creativity, and enable everyone, from kindergartners to university students, to design all kinds of cool and interesting electronic do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. “Microduino’s goals are to unlock the inventor in everyone, and give people the tools to turn simple ideas into reality and bring their creations to life,” Bin added. Microduino maintains children’s interest and excitement, as their knowledge and capabilities grow, by offering increasingly challenging projects for all ages.
Microduino modules are small, easy-to-use, LEGO®– and Arduino-compatible electronic building blocks that simply snap together with magnetic connectors. There are 50 different modules with 30 different kinds of sensors — creating a huge platform for creative design. Each module has its own function, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, or LED light. By stacking together the modules needed for a particular application , kids can easily complete the included projects, or get really creative and design an unlimited number of product.
Because all required parts are included in each unique Microdouino modular system, there’s no need to spend time identifying and shopping for more. Even better, it is not necessary to have previously required knowledge of circuit design, diagrams, soldering and breadboarding. With Microduino, what might otherwise take weeks can be accomplished in days or even hours. This means kids can explore new technology faster — and without fear of failing. The result: they gain a sense of pride, self-confidence and delight in discovering their untapped creativity. They learn that they can be creators and “makers!”
A Hit on Kickstarter
Consumers showed interest in Microduino products right from the start. When Microduino made its debut on Kickstarter in September 2013, the well-known crowdfunding platform spotlighted the company as a Kickstarter Staff Pick. As a result, Microduino raised over $134,563, and achieved more than 600% of its funding goal.
In May 2015, Microduino introduced the mCookie Series on Kickstarter. mCookies are the magnetic, color-coded and LEGO-stackable building blocks themselves. Also chosen as a Kickstarter Staff Pick, Microduino raised even more money, $167,570, than the first time around. MCookie shipped on schedule in July of that year.
Itty Bitty City, for children ages eight and up, debuted on Indiegogo in October 2016, and shipped on schedule at the end of that year. Itty Bitty City is a complete 8-in-1 project kit that features Microduino’s mCookie Series modules. Each of the eight projects introduces new concepts and ideas related to programming and electronics.
Microduino continued to innovate.
mPuzzle, which teaches basic circuitry concepts to children ages five and up, hit the market in August 2017.
In January 2018, Microduino introduced mPie, a transitional kit for children ages seven and up that moves them from the basics of circuitry and hardware components of mPuzzle to initial concepts of coding.
In 2018, Microduino is launching its Mix Kit Series, exclusively for the education market, to increase students’ interest and proficiency in STEM/STEAM skills and in alignment with current STEM curriculum standards. Rather than focus on one application, each kit level offers 12 projects, and encourages students to use what they have learned d build their own designs.
Microduino teamed with teachers, administrators, academic experts and visionaries to develop the series of four powerful learning systems that progressively teach children, as young as five years old, basic electronic circuitry, coding, and product design. Each subsequent Mix Kit focuses on more advanced and sophisticated concepts so students can further their abilities to think logically and sequentially, and solve life and technology-focused problems.
Six Continents, One Million Users
Microduino is currently in use on six continents. In China, more than one million students from kindergarten to college have experienced Microduino’s magic. The company even has an accredited two-unit course at Tsinghua University, considered “the MIT of China.”
Members of the Microduino community – students and individuals — have conceived and created an extraordinary array of impressive and impactful projects for real-life use, including 3D printers, smart music players, gloves that translate foreign languages, miniature cellphones, water pollution detectors, and many more.
The company has also worked with Britain’s International Centre for Birds of Prey on a conservation project through which Microduino modules collect insightful data used to help endangered vultures.
Microduino has received multiple awards including the IDSA Gold Award from IDEA 2016 (the “Oscars” of the design world), and the Editor’s Choice 2017 Award at Maker Faire. Electronic Engineering Journal included Microduino as one of “The 5 Best Things from World Maker Faire 2015.” Time Magazine called Microduino’s mCookie one of the top five STEM education kits on the market today. Microduino’s mCookie line is on permanent display at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit Michigan.
Microduino is based in Westlake Village, California. Microduino products are currently available for sale on the company’s website, through Amazon, and at select retailers, such as Barnes & Noble.
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