Why the name PodPi?

The original PodPi concept was based on the Raspberry Pi platform.  The Smart Pods were designed to teach kids a particular topic in electronics.  These Smart Pods plugged into a Raspberry Pi console and were accessed in real-time through an interactive web-based comic book.

Raspberri Pi + Pods = PodPi.

Smart Pods

Smart Pods

 
The Original Pod Character

The Original Pod Character

The Raspberry Pi Console

The Raspberry Pi Console

 

Smart Pods with a breadboard for kids to build electronic circuits that interact with the comic book in real time.  A bay was available for batterie operated Pods as well as storing all the electronic components.

The Smart Pods were assigned a unique identity via a comic book character.  Today, these characters are called Pod Peeps.  There are 28 Pod Peeps, each with their unique characteristics, individual personalities and skills.

Smart Pods connected to the main console, powered by a Raspberry Pi.  The Pi ran the code, web server and all elements needed for the interactive lessons.

Are the Smart Pods Available Today?

During our testing phase with many kids and parents we discovered that the stories, unique characters and comic book format were very appealing to everyone.  While the technology was fun as well, it wasn't challenging enough.  The closed environment did not allow the kids to experiment as much as specific outcomes were designed to be reached.  The Smart Pods currently remain in their prototype form and are not available on the market.

Why did you use Arduino today?

It has always been important to us to keep the price of our program as low as possible.  Unfortunately, the technology required around the Raspberri Pi and Smart Pods did not make it possible to go to market.  By using the Arduino platform and staying true to our core mission, we found the Arduino and JavaScript combination a great way to get kids introduced to programming, electronics and STEM in general.