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Teen launches Raspberry Pi 4 based STEM kit

Feb 3, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 2336 views

On Kickstarter: a “Sania Box Embedded Computer Kit” for STEM education developed by 13-year old Sania Jain that combines a Raspberry Pi 4 with a kid-friendly, sensor-equipped add-on board and Python coding lessons.

Despite continual efforts by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to remind us, it’s easy to forget that the ubiquitous Raspberry Pi was launched as a STEM education project. We have not attempted to keep up with all the Raspberry Pi kits designed for kids computing education, but the Sania Box Embedded Computer Kit stands out on two counts: It’s based on the latest Raspberry Pi 4 Model B and was developed by a 13-year old girl named Sania Jain.



Sania Box Embedded Computer Kit add-on board with Raspberry Pi 4 (left) and Sania Jain
(click images to enlarge)

An aspiring writer and programmer, Jain launched the SaniaBox project and designed the Sania Box with the help of Silicon Valley-based startup Moonshot Junior Inc.. The kit aims to teach kids 8-and-up the basics of Python coding, electronics, and IoT.

The Sania Box campaign has achieved its $5K Kickstarter goal, with availability through Mar. 2, There may still be some kits available for $129. Otherwise, you’ll pay $149, which is $20 off the estimated retail price. There are also discount packages for two and five kits. Shipments are expected in April.

Unlike laptop-based STEM kits with the Raspberry Pi, such as the Kano kit, the Sania Box lacks a display, but you get a keyboard and mouse. The key hardware element is a kid-safe add-on board equipped with a variety of sensors to ease the learning curve and hassle of buying and connecting third-party sensors. The idea is to get kids quickly to the point where they can watch their python code in action.



Sania Box kit contents
(click image to enlarge)

The add-on board integrates thermal, touch, light, and gas (CO2, methane, etc.) sensors, as well as a relay circuit and a 3-digit, 7-segment display. There’s also a pushbutton and dual LEDs with a blinking mode.

The kit is further equipped with a USB Type-C connected power supply, a custom case, an HDMI cable, and a Raspberry Pi 4 with 1GB RAM. There’s also a 16GB microSD card preloaded with Python coding programs that teach the basics of computer engineering.

The Raspberry Pi 4 gives young coders a development platform that represents a giant leap beyond early Linux K12 STEM platforms like Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop per Child. It’s far more powerful than the first STEM kits based on the initial, ARM11 based Raspberry Pi.

The RPi 4’s Broadcom BCM2711 SoC features 4x 1.5GHz Cortex-A72 cores that deliver two to four times the performance of the RPi 3B+. The board supplies 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 radios plus a native GbE port, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, USB Type-C, 2x 4K-ready micro-HDMI ports, and more.

The Python learning environment programs can be augmented from new code posted on the SaniaBox website. The project will market the kit to schools in India before extending the program worldwide to schools, after-care/enrichment centers, and camps. There are plans to create additional add-on boards for the kit with varying levels of complexity.

 
Further information

The Sania Box Embedded Computer Kit is available now on Kickstarter starting at $129, with shipments due in April. More information may be found at the Sania Box Kickstarter page and the SaniaBox website.

 

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One response to “Teen launches Raspberry Pi 4 based STEM kit”

  1. Steven says:

    This is interesting. So kids can assemble this by themselves without supervision? Will this be launched on Amazon or some other e-commerce portal soon?

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