Technology has become a major part of everyday life. Constant innovations in our everyday technology can force people into a consumer role. What if we could take this consumer mindset and empower it with the foundations of electronics and technology? Jie Qi, a PhD student from MIT media labs has created a platform to do just that.
In 2014 Jie crowd funded Chibitronics; Paper circuits that use conductive circuit stickers, coin cell batteries and adhesive copper tape to integrate art with electronics. The result? A creative, safe and simple approach to the basics of electricity that empowers consumers with creative, technical knowledge.
Parents, Educators and students all love Chibitronics and with a nationwide push towards STEM learning in recent years, it's no wonder why. If you didn't know, STEM refers the practical application of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics to solve real world problems.
Simply put, Chibitronics is a pathway by which anyone can learn STEM skills in a fun and modern way.
What are circuit stickers?
Everyone knows what stickers are, and most people have a general idea of what circuits are. Circuit stickers are exactly what you imagine them to be. Peel-and-stick, flexible circuits that team up with conductive copper tape to make all different types of circuits anywhere you can stick them. Why use them? By taking the soldering out of electronics and adding the fun of arts and crafts you get an extremely approachable, safe way to learn and teach electronics concepts to anyone. You can make your circuits attach to anything, including yourself!
The concepts covered in Chibi-kits are:
- Simple Series LED Circuit
- Simple Parallel LED Circuit
- Paper Switch LED Circuit
- Blinking Slide Switch Circuit
- Pressure Sensor Circuit
Each of these tutorials are fun and informative! If you wanted to extend yourself (or your student) or even just get a good idea on where this learning path leads look at the Advanced tutorials Chibitronics provides for free. You will see that with the addition of sensors and a microcontroller you are able to engage students in learning the basics of coding to real world circuits.
Chibitronics offers collections of circuit stickers from LEDs to lighting effect circuits to Circuit sensors. But ideally you get one of their kits and extend yourself later on with the higher level concepts.
There is an introductory pack, including an alligator clip, an LED circuit sticker, copper tape and a coin-cell battery is the entry level kit. You trace out the path you want the electricity to take with copper tape, connecting the start and end of the path to your battery to make an LED light up.
The next pack up is the STEM Starter Kit. With the STEM kit you get a set of Circuit Stickers, an illustrated Circuit guide that facilitates interaction in the 5 learning activities. Oh, and of course the tape/battery/alligator clip from the intro kit to make the circuits work! The language used in this kit is suitable for literally anyone that can read, and that is no exaggeration.
The Circuit Stickers Classroom pack is the pack for educators. Coming with enough bits and pieces for a class of 30 and all the related learning material provided for free on Chibitronics online learning platform.
With each of these products you recieve loads of easy, straightforward learning content. These guides are easy to follow and encourage using art and craft to make your circuits perform real world tasks. Critical thinking is enveloped within this content as each activity comes with a comprehensive debugging section that outlines any issues a circuit can have, gives a brief explanation of why it's the case and how to fix it. At the end of the 5 basic tutorials you will be able to create your own circuit, reusing ideas and parts from your tutorials.
At Core Electronics, we love anything educational that engages young minds with a DIY attitude, enabling people to create cool stuff at home. Get in touch with us for any further information about Chibitronics or tech in general, we're here to help!