Piper was founded by Mark Pavlyukovskyy, named in ‘Forbes 30 under 30 in Education’ in 2018 and Dr Joel Sadler, who wrote a thesis 'Enabling Novices to Prototype Electronics' whilst undertaking a computer science project at Stanford. Aimed at children aged between 8 and 14 years, the kit teaches the user how to build and program electronics, whilst undertaking Minecraft themed challenges.
Children begin their Piper experience by building their computer – from the wooden box to the electronics inside, following a real engineering blueprint. Once their computer is built, they are thrust into a world-saving mission, solving puzzles and building physical gadgets to hack the game itself. As they play, they receive in-game directions that guide them to add on to the hardware, build their own controller, buttons, lights and power ups. The Piper Computer Kit also includes PiperCode which helps children learn the basics of coding with fun physical electronic games they can code themselves and the support of simple step by step tutorials.
The kit has been designed for novices with no previous experience of electronics and helps prepare them for a lifetime of building technology. It is built upon the popular Raspberry Pi single board computer, originally developed to teach electronics, which has now become a global phenomenon in the maker market and is increasingly being ‘built-in’ to real-word products.
Assembling the Piper Computer Kit can take 1-2 hours and completing all of Piper’s story mode will take an additional 8-10 hours. After that, there are mini-games, music synthesizers, 3D printing, and creative mode that can bring indefinite creation and enjoyment. Each Piper also comes pre-installed with NOOBS which is the Raspberry Pi operating system providing access to an internet browser, a word processor, scratch programming, and more.
The Piper Computer Kit is available to buy from www.forthings.io in the UK and Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.