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Smart Start to Summer Fun

Play It Smart Centennial on Flickr

With the summer fast approaching, it’s a good idea to find some ways to pass all that extra free time you have. We’ve covered smart devices in the past, and hopefully, you’ve got a good idea of how useful the internet of things can be. So, why not make your own smart stuff?

Making smart stuff can be hard, but it’s very rewarding. You can create your own little gadget that responds to things and does what you want it to do. There’s a good range of complexity depending on how good you are with programming, so be sure to pick the one that suits you best.

If you own an Amazon Alexa, you can use Alexa Skills to make your own voice commands. Then you can have Alexa do whatever you want! Amazon even has some pre-made templates you can choose from, so you can quickly make a quiz or design an Alexa skill for smart lights.

If you want something a little more fun, try the Anki Cozmo. This is a cute robot that learns as he goes, and can download new things to do through updates over the internet.

While he’s a lot of fun to play with as-is, he comes with his own coding lab. This lets you tinker with Anki Cozmo’s brain and make him do the things you want. Want him to play a game with you? You can do that. You can make him move in a little dance, too!

Best of all, Anki Cozmo uses a really easy-to-use program to code new things for him. You don’t really need to know how to code, and you don’t need to download those complex coding programs where you type everything. Just snap together the logic blocks like you would a jigsaw puzzle, and Anki Cozmo will do the rest!

If you think the above two options will be too easy to you, you can go for the smart person option. The Raspberry Pi is a small computer board that fits in a tiny shell. In a way, it’s like a really small computer; it even has all the essentials like USB ports. You can run stuff like Linux on it, too.

Raspberry Pi can be modified with interesting stuff, such as light and motion sensors. This lets you build a smart device that can read its surroundings and adapts to what’s going on. Of course, all this takes a lot of technical stuff and knowledge, so this is probably best done with an adult who knows about programming for devices.

So, regardless of if you don’t know how to code or you’re a programming master, there’s plenty for you to get stuck into this summer. Have fun making smart things that obey your every command!

Learn More

Alexa Skill Kit


Anki Cozmo


Alexa Skills for kids – video


Best Educational Alexa Skills


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