Scottish Company Sells £40K of Coding Toy on Kickstarter

hands using curious chip coding toy pip

Glasgow based start-up Curious Chip wants to get kids as young as eight interested in coding.

Curious Chip is the tech start-up company responsible for creating Pip, a compact handheld device that turns digital creation into child’s play.

Created by Glasgow-based duo Sukhvir Dhillon and Jason Frame, who founded Curious Chip in 2012, Pip has already been hugely successful on crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

As of January 10th, 2018, the pair had pledges from 241 backers, raising £40,031, surpassing the original £30,000 goal. The project also received initial support from Business Gateway and more recently from Scottish Enterprise.

According to their Facebook page the Kickstarter funding was raised in only 30 days. A post from the Facebook page read: “We are dazzled by the love and support you have shown for Pip and we can’t wait to get one in your hands!”

The Birth of Pip

Powered by Raspberry Pi, Pip is intended for ages eight and upwards with the goal of encouraging children to learn in a fun way how to perform basic coding. The idea for Pip was born from Frame’s desire to introduce his own young son to the basics of programming.

With modern computers proving too complex the team decided to write their own software with the goal of bringing “a bit of magic back”. Realising they would need their own hardware, and seeing the potential of a handheld device, the two set about creating Pip.

Empowering Kids

Dhillon told DIGIT: “It’s important that kids learn that the technology surrounding them isn’t simply magic and that it’s actually quite easy to get started learning how to control it. It’s not about turning every kid into a professional programmer, rather that we give them the opportunity to tinker and express themselves through creative play.”

Pip comes with easy to follow interactive instructions that will guide you through projects, which will teach you how to code in multiple language (Javascript, Python, Lua, PHP and HTML/CSS). It will allow the user to explore their coding creativity while teaching them how to alter games, add photos and create flashing LEDS.

Fun Interactive Learning

The team has also built a web-based platform called Curiosity that runs on Pip and can be accessed via web-browser on a tablet or computer.  As well as being the main interface for programming Pip, Curiosity also contains a sophisticated system for presenting interactive tutorials containing images, videos, interactive diagrams, ‘try-it-yourself’ sections, quizzes, and more.

Since Curiosity is web-based there will be a freely available online version too, which makes it available to everyone. People will be able to try it as though they had a Pip. They will be able to try other people’s creations in the browser, download them to a Pip  and give feedback via Curiosity’s online gallery.

The Future of Pip

Eben Upton, co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, said: “They’ve taken the Raspberry Pi platform, and all the stability and performance of the Raspberry Pi platform, to places that we could never have imagined.  I’m super exited about this! I’m really, really looking forward to seeing what people do!”

The team are looking to ship their first lot of Pip to their backers by September 2018. Their long-term goal is to get the product and accompanying subscription-based software platform into educational institutions.

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