Stay on target
The average teenage gamer spends so much time building worlds, defeating monsters, and crushing candy that there’s no time for science, engineering, and math.
But 18-year-old student and technology enthusiast Albert Gajšak wants to change that with MAKERbuino.
The open-source, Arduino-powered, handheld game console is fun and portable, but also a learning experience: It ships as a DIY kit, with various electronic components for you to build and customize.
Starting at $35, the box costs as much as, if not less than, a new console game—Gajšak’s way of motivating kids to “learn something new and enter the wonderful world of DIY electronics.”
Interested buyers can now pre-order a kit on Kickstarter. The standard option costs $35, and you’ll need your own equipment—soldering iron, solder, cutter pliers, screwdriver. For $10 more, you can request the necessary assembly tools, or snag hardware expansion modules (with wires and breadboard).
Of course, you could just shell out $45 for a finished MAKERbuino, ready for playtime.
“We understand that not everybody loves soldering and would like a MAKERbuino just to program games for it,” the project page said. “We respect that.”
Expected for delivery this May, the gadget features a low-res screen, 600mAh rechargeable battery, and only 2KB of RAM. But, as Gajšak pointed out: “You’ve made it with your own two hands. It’s unique; it’s retro, it’s cool.”
Aimed at enthusiasts ages 11 and up, the kit takes an estimated five hours to complete, based on skill level.
A 128MB SD card comes loaded with titles—more of which can be downloaded from an online MAKERbuino gallery. Savvy players can use the Arduino library to build their own games and share them with others.
Gajšak’s crowdfunding campaign, run from Zagreb, Croatia, has collected $32,300 from 550-plus supporters, more than tripling its goal of $10,000. There are still 13 days left to back the project and get a kid interested in technology.