[FoRK] Children and digital/computer medium

Ken Meltsner meltsner at alum.mit.edu
Fri Dec 6 11:12:25 PST 2013

Pre-literate is hard and it's been a long time since ours were.

Perhaps some of the iPad games for cats would work for kids as well?

Or for older kids, this sounds awesome as a way to get kids interested in

What the Heck is a BlinkyTape?

BlinkyTape is a super-cool LED strip with full-color RGB LEDs and an
integrated microcontroller. We created BlinkyTape in order to make LEDs
easier to use. A big part of this was making sure that it's easy to make
programs that will talk to BlinkyTape. But -- and this is a big but -- you
don't need to program in order to make your BlinkyTape do awesome stuff.

What's the first thing I should do with BlinkyTape? OR let's make things
blink without programming!

Great, let's get up to speed. First let's install PatternPaint which is
designed to help you animate your BlinkyTape with a simple visual editor.
PatternPaint is especially super for making patterns in long-exposure
photography or persistence of vision but it's also good for just making
cool stuff happen on your BlinkyTape strip.

Windows users: this package also contains the drivers, so you need to start

Other platforms don't need special drivers, but we still recommend checking
out PatternPaint.

We also hope to showcase cool community projects here, and we have a few
examples to get you going, so check out BlinkyTile, AmbiTape and DiscoParty
- all these are extremely cool, in our opintion, but we're looking forward
to even cooler stuff coming from the community.

OK! I want to make my own programs that talk to BlinkyTape, because I have
some AMAZING ideas.

Fantastic - we can't wait until we see your brain-contents playing back on
a BlinkyTape! That might not have come out right...but don't worry, we've
made the 'tapes easy to program. Like we said before, we're super-duper
excited about what the community comes up with. So far, we've been doing
most of our programming in Processing. You might have already grabbed that
in order to play with PatternPaint, but if not, we'd suggest you go ahead
and do that now. And if Processing isn't your thing, that's OK! The
community has already done some work in other languages. You'll find more
info about this path by following THIS LINK RIGHT HERE!

That's cool, but I want to get right down and change the program that runs
on the BlinkyTape!

You're right: this is cool too. The BlinkyBoard (which, as you might know
already, is the heart and soul of your BlinkyTape) is very similar to an
Arduino and you can use the Arduino environment to program it. Of course,
there are a few other details that you'll want to know about, and you'll
find this information RIGHT HERE

I'm having trouble with my BlinkTape

Have no fear, just head over to this page with some troubleshooting tips
for common BlinkyTape problems, RIGHT HERE

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