A new DIY digital camera designed to help children learn about tech engineering has launched in America. The $89 Bigshot camera, developed by US computer science professor Shree Nayer, helps children gain a better understanding of complex electronic concepts through hands-on experience.
Owners of the kit camera must build the device from scratch, learning as they go about power generation, optic technology and image processing. An online guide explains the science behind each stage of the construction process.
Nayer, a scientist at Columbia University in New York, believes it is important for today’s children to develop engineering skills alongside programming knowledge. "In an age when software rules, I want kids to know how to build hardware,” he told the BBC. "We describe concepts that children would normally encounter at college, but try to make them accessible even to an eight or 10 year old.”
Bigshot’s launch follows the success of low-cost microcomputer Raspberry Pi, developed by researchers at Cambridge University in the UK to promote interest in computing science.
Educational tools for computing are becoming more popular across all age groups as consumers evolve from consumer-creators to consumer-inventors. For more, see the report Citizen Science and Everyone’s an Engineer, part of the Thinking Digitally industry trend.