Don’t crumble under the pressure: ideas for the Crumble microcontroller
I was after a microcontroller to allow me to make displays and projects come to life with light and movement.
I needed one that would run itself after it’s unplugged from the laptop and above all else it had to be easy to use with no quirky jargon. The Crumble controller fitted the bill and, amazingly, it’s the most easy to use piece of kit that I’ve come across; getting started only took a few minutes.
One project is building a Crumble controlled automata, using the Crumble motors to power the movement. Unlike other systems the motors connect straight to the Crumble board in a hassle-free way. Find a connector to go between the motors and some K’nex or Lego kit (this is a job for the 3D printer), then it’ll be easier to use with standard building kits. If you’re short of time to experiment on your own, get your pupils to build the K’nex or Lego kit – something for them to enjoy creating!
If we’re ever going to attract more youngsters into STEM careers, we need to make sure teachers are comfortable with these control resources, enjoy using them, and above all else see the need for them.
With Kate (a history teacher and self-confessed techno-phobe) and a willing Year 6 class, we’ll shortly be creating a Crumble video for just this. The Crumble sparkles inspired Kate and she instantly envisaged a project in lighting design. The sparkles are really bright, low energy lights that can be programmed to any colour of the spectrum at any time. One Crumble controller can run up to 32 of them simultaneously. You could also experiment with fibre optic tubes to see if you can create a more fascinating light feature.
Why not also try experimenting with some of the other switches and sensors that can be used through the ‘Crumbiliser’ connectors? The projects on Redfern Electronics blog page are inspiring and show the Crumble in the way it’s intended to be used, as an enjoyable tool that makes you want to learn and create, and then learn some more!
Are your creative juices flowing? I will be running a course to give teachers more confidence using devices like the Crumble, and to inspire pupils in the world of STEM.
Mike Cargill, Director of UKSTEM Ltd