Computer programming is a ubiquitous part of modern life; childhood education on the topic is sadly less so. When Kristy Sevy’s eldest daughter took an interest in all things STEM, Sevy tried to find learning products that would enable her to engage her daughter in the subjects she loves. “I didn’t find stuff out there that I wasn’t intimidated by,” she says. Sevy and her brother, Kyle Muir, decided that they would do something about this lack of approachable electronics education platforms for children.
The end result is a prototype dubbed FUZE: a circuit board with magnetic read switches and LEDs that young people can program to display different patterns and sequences. The prototype included glasses that alter the lights, revealing images like smiley faces and stars. “The toy doubles as an education platform,” says Muir, showing how the circuit board slots into a clear, plastic frisbee. “By the end of it, kids and teachers [are] learning real code, and they can either code or put it up in their frisbee and go play.”
Sevy and Muir hope that FUZE will help parents and educators more easily engage their children in the often daunting fields of electronics and programming. The important thing, says Sevy, is that “somebody such as myself, who has little to no knowledge in stuff like programing or electronics, can take this with her child and do it.” Their booth in the STEM building at DIY Festival will display and demonstrate the FUZE learning platform. Attendees can also take part in a hands-on project with their children. “It’s an LED light and two-coin cell batteries, and they’re making a little mini-flashlight,” says Sevy. “Then they can put the special glasses on and have that fun, interactive experience and then take it home with them.”
After its debut at the DIY Festival, FUZE will be available to parents, homeschoolers and educators this fall. “It takes the community to help fix the problem of education,” says Sevy. “Parents are looking for [STEM-education opportunities], and I think Craft Lake City is a great catalyst for parents to find it.”
For more information about CLC DIY Festival programming, click here.