What It Is
The LightUp Tesla Kit Bluetooth Edition is a STEM-based learning toy that lets kids build simple electronic "machines" by using the iOS app to connect and program the Bluetooth-connected microcontroller. Snap the magnetic blocks together to build multiple circuits that each do different things such as a flashlight, musical instrument, a battery tester, and more. Combining electronics, programming, and coding, the Tesla Kit teaches youngsters how to code and create without the mess and dangers of soldering or wiring.
When you're not sure if you built something right, or want to check out some of the other designs the Tesla Kit has to offer, open the LightUp Lens or the LightUp Learning apps with your Apple device and hover it above the microcontroller and watch an image of the completed circuit appear over it. If you did it right, the image will shine green and it will show you how the current flows through the blocks. If not, it'll tell you what you need. If you want to make something new, scroll through the selection available in the app, which updates with new projects every week.
Is It Fun?
The Tesla Kit is perfect for kids who are ready to build electronically and expand their minds. The projects really work and the magnetic circuit blocks connect easily. It will set small engineers on their way and the only thing that will hinder their creativity is their own imaginations. Both apps work well and coach children on how to build the proper circuits for whatever objects they choose. The fact that the LightUp Learning app not only teaches them to code but updates every week is awesome. This little kit will generate engaging, compelling experiences that really build those STEM learning functions.
Who It’s For
For children ages 7-15, this STEM learning science kit is amazing for kids interested in electrical engineering and building. If they enjoy using their own creativity to create new things, this will also be great for them. The Tesla Kit's app use creates even more interaction as they'll have immediate access to new designs as well as old ones. They'll also know what they're learning in a very hands-on way. Their parents and friends will also be interested in watching them work or surprised at how this kit can be used for practical things around the house.
What To Be Aware Of
In addition to the microcontroller, the set includes 14 other magnetically-connected pieces including a USB-chargeable power supply, resistor, buzzer, switch, light sensor and nine “wires.” By combining these pieces and using the simple, visual programming pane in the iOS app, which can be wirelessly programmed over Bluetooth 4.0, kids start with the included projects, which they can then customize in myriad ways. After that, they'll be able to find new projects on the app every week. The LightUp Tesla Kit is also compatible with the previous non-Bluetooth version and the Edison Kit, which are both sold separately.
One of the projects, the Theramin, required more pieces than were included. A LightUp co-founder responded to my email very quickly, acknowledged their error and that it will be corrected in a future release of the app.
When we encountered some other confusion along the way, support was always very speedy to reply.