Tangi Tech!

This is the Tangible Tech Collaborative (Tangi Tech).

Within the fields of children’s technology and digital learning, we encourage developmentally appropriate experiences that blend hands-on investigations and digital interface design.

Enjoy these resources, articles and creative “mashups” designed to blend coding apps with hands-on activities.

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Pixel Kit, by Kano

Kano Pixel Kit

Build your own tool to display your colorful pictures, pixel art, and frame-by-frame animations. The Kano Pixel Kit empowers children (ages 6+) to build with tangible pieces, buttons, board, battery and more. This intro to computer science is designed for playful and creative investigations.
Helpful info and ideas are contained in a tangible book, and players also use a computer with the Kano App. We’re happy to see that Kano offers curricular resources for educators and also makes a Kano Computer Kit to build working computers.

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Osmo Coding Jam, by Tangible Play, Inc.

Osmo Coding Jam PiecesOsmo Coding Jam



Learn to code and create music by using colorful tangible programming blocks found in Osmo Coding Jam. Players enjoy artistic expression and computational thinking while playing with this innovative set by our friends at Tangible Play, Inc. This artistic iPad app joins their ground-breaking app, Osmo Codingwhich also offers hands-on play to help develop programming skills and logic.

For more creative learning games from Tangible Play, Inc. see their full line of Osmo tangible games here.

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Project Bloks research project from Google, Paulo Blickstein, & IDEO


Project Bloks system is currently being researched as new modular system for tangible programming. “The system is made up of pucks, Base Boards, and the Brain Board. The boards can be covered with any material or form you like and arranged in different ways, to create very different experiences.” Project Bloks is a collaboration between Research at Google, Google Creative Lab, Paulo Blikstein (Stanford University) and IDEO. Additional member of design team: Arnan Sipitakiat (Chiang Mai University).

See this Project Bloks site to see a few ideas about what you could create using this system! Also see their Research Section to learn more about the background of this project.

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Osmo Coding for iPad, by Tangible Play, Inc.

Osmo Coding

Congratulations to our friends at Tangible Play, Inc. who have released Osmo Codingthe exciting new tangible programming game for iPad. Here, we’ve just opened our new set of Osmo Coding tangibles, and are ready to program commands for the delightful onscreen character, Awbie.

Osmo Coding offers young and novice players an open-ended world to explore using scannable hands-on programming pieces.  Now computational thinking becomes part of the many dynamic forms of learning inspired by those at Tangible Play, Inc. See the full line of Osmo tangible games here.

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Super Solar Recycler Robotics Kit, by OWI Inc.


The eco-friendly Super Solar Recycler Robotics Kit by OWI was given the Best Green Toy Award by Dr. Toy at the 2015 Family Choice Awards. Product Description: With this kit (solar panel, motor and instruction) your children can recycle a can of their favorite soft drink to create Street Roller and Walking Robot, create Bottle Yacht, Drummer Robot and Flying Bird using a plastic water bottle, and even turn your old scratched CD’s into the super cool CD Racer. (ages 8+)

See other Alternative Energy Kits made by OWI Inc. at the New York Toy Fair 2016 this February, or simply visit their fun website: OWI Robotics.

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SciPlay Playground Physics


We’re excited to begin exploring the SciPlay Playground Physics iPad app, one of the fun new “Noticing Tools” developed through the New York Hall of Science. Description from SciPlay: Discover and explore the physics in your everyday life and your own movements. Record a video of you or your friends – or any form of motion – tap points along the way to trace a path of motion, and discover the motion, forces, and energy involved!

SciPlay‘s full-line of innovative apps include: Fraction Mash, Choreo Graph, Size Wise, and Volumize, each which help to bridge real-world investigations and digital technology.

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TopCode Programming Stickers – created by Michael Horn, TIDAL Lab

NW CTD kids programs

Tangible Tech Collaborative: One highlight of the summer was watching the creative campers at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University as they designed programs for a working robot.  Here Michael Horn shows a group of children how  TopCodes can be scanned into a computer to instruct a nearby robot.  Each child created his/her own “cut & paste” chain of commands (such as forward, spin, shake and turn right) and illustrated thoughts about potential robot designs. It is empowering, educational and fun to watch one’s own instructions performed by a real robot.  Thanks for the invitation to join in!

See Northwestern University’s TIDAL Lab for more creative uses of TopCodes, and explore the Summer Programs at the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University for info on innovative summer robotics activities and many other enriching opportunities for children.


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Strawbies Tangible Programming Project, led by Felix Hu

Strawbies - new

Tangible Tech Collaborative: As we explore new iterations of Strawbies, we are discovering that children love helping this adorable character Awbie (designed by Eric Uchalik) as he collects strawberries and explores the colorful open-ended world of Strawbies (programmed by Felix Hu).  Players instruct Awbie using tangible wooden programming tiles and scannable TopCodes. Current iterations of this project also use an Osmo stand and mirror.

See Strawbies.com for the video, or read the illustrated paper Strawbies: Explorations in Tangible Programming written for the IDC 2015 Conference (Interaction Design & Children).  Authors of the paper are: Felix Hu, Ariel Zekelman, Michael S. Horn, and Frances Judd.

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Bee-Bot Robot for Kids, by TTS Group

Bee-Bot K-Programs

Tangible Tech Collaborative: It was inspiring to work with young students to explore Bee-Bot Robot by TTS Group.  These child-made diagrams show how kindergarteners imagined their own programs for their classroom Bee-Bot as it navigated pathways of colorful squares made of construction paper.  Find out how your young students would sketch their own ideas about coding and programming!

See Bee-Bot and Associated Resources at TTS Group for more information on Bee-Bot robots and related educational resources for classroom STEM activities.

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KIBO, by KinderLab Robotics & DevTech Research Group


Tangible Tech Collaborative: It was great fun to get a tour of the lab at Tufts University DevTech Research Group and see what’s in development there.  Shown here is their hand-made KIBO puppet being created to help inform children about the many interesting functions of the real KIBO Robot (being produced by KinderLab Robotics).

The DevTech Research Group’s website explains that “Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers and her students in the DevTech Research Group examine the role of computational technologies that are developmentally appropriate for young children and that help them learn about new things in new ways.”  We appreciate the helpful and inspiring tour offered by Marina Umaschi Bers.  Thanks again!

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Strawbies: Tangible Programming Project, headed by Felix Hu

Strawbies square

Tangible Tech Collaborative: Strawbies Tangible Programming Game is an innovative project from inventor/programmer Felix Hu, with designers Ariel Zekelman and Eric Uchalik. Players (ages 5+) use handheld pieces with scannable TopCodes to program instructions for an on-screen character “Awbie.” Older players discover complexity, strategy, logic and looping within Hu’s programming features. Current iterations use an Osmo stand and reflector with iPad for digital/tangible interactions.

Enjoy this Strawbies Demo by videographer/editor Rhoderick Magsino. (Project advisors: Michael S. Horn from TIDAL Lab and Frances Judd from the Tangible Tech Collaborative.)

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IDC 2015 demos, Strawbies and MakerShoe

Majeed Kazemitabaar and Mike Horn

Tangible Tech Collaborative: Interesting demos at this year’s IDC Conference 2015 (Interaction Design & Children) included “Strawbies,” “MakerShoes,” and many other innovative projects. Here, Mike Horn from the Strawbies team stands with Majeed Kazemitabaar from the MakerShoe team, at our IDC demo table for Strawbies Tangible Programming Game. It was great to meet so many committed researchers and creative designers in Boston.

For updates on the MakerShoes project see Majeed Kazemitabaar on Twitter. For info on the Strawbies Tangible Programming Game check out Northwestern University’s TIDAL Lab.

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MakerShoe, by Kazemitabaar, Norooz, Guha & Froehlich

MakerShoe IDC 2015 demo

Tangible Tech Collaborative: We enjoyed seeing the demo of MakerShoe at this year’s IDC Conference 2015 (Interaction Design & Children).  Such a fun idea! What child wouldn’t enjoy exploring technology with MakerShoes?

Read about this innovative MakerShoe project in the paper MakerShoe: Towards a Wearable E-Textile Construction Kit to Support Creativity, Playful Making, and Self-Expression submitted by Majeed Kazemitabaar, Leyla Norooz, Mona Leigh Guha, and Jon E. Froehlich.

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StoryMaking, by Alisha Panjwani at MIT

StoryMaking Demo MIT IDC2015

Tangible Tech Collaborative: During our trip to MIT Media Lab in Boston we enjoyed seeing Alisha Panjwani’s StoryMaking crafting demo as part of the IDC 2015 Conference (Interaction Design & Children).  Intertwining simple circuitry and personal storytelling, this StoryMaking project seeks to spark self-expression, curiosity and creative uses of hands-on technology.

See more creative projects from Alisha Panjwani at her site: How To Make (Almost) Anything.

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DIRTI R&D Project, by User Studio

User Studio R & D photo

Tangible Tech Collaborative: Has sandbox play finally become a place for inventive early childhood technology? Check out User Studio’s use of tapioca grains as the medium for tangible interface in children’s iPad explorations. As developers at User Studio describe their initial goal, “…we had one thing only on our minds: we wanted to build the simplest, least “techy”, most familiar interface possible for kids to play with.”  Those at User Studio “believe that haptics and non-standard touch interactions are under-rated learning tools.” We agree!

Visit User Studio Project: DIRTI for iPad to see and hear their interesting investigations of musical audiovisual fun.

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