By Todd Bernhard on Sun, 02/12/2017
There are a lot of high tech toys out there to choose from, but I've always found that the best toys are the ones that you build yourself. As a kid, I carried around a briefcase full of Legos. That was my "work" and eventually I upgraded to Erector sets, and then tearing apart electronics. Kids today have Thimble, a monthly subscription service and learning platform that is now shipping its first learn-and-build electronics kits. In fact, Thimble is the gift that keeps on giving, not only because of the educational value in building the items, but it's also available as a monthly subscription service ($59 per month) versus $89 for just one kit. If you get the subscription, a new kit arrives each month, with step-by-step instructions and the kits get more complex over the year.
The first kit comes with a reusable Arduino-compatible microcontroller and the option to purchase a toolkit that will help novices to hit the ground running. Other kits will include a quadcopter, alarm clock and several Wi-Fi devices, such as a robot and a light switch, all of which can be controlled by an iPhone or iPad.
Thimble is the invention of two young Buffalo entrepreneurs: a computer engineer and a former college admissions officer who came together to share their passion for STEM education and make it more accessible to the masses. The company started as a grassroots Kickstarter campaign that quickly became the largest crowdfunding campaign in Western New York. The campaign raised more than a quarter of a million dollars from 1,776 backers.