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Sparkle Labs

It's cute, it's smart, and you can make it do things! No, it’s not a robot or my pet Pomeranian, it’s the Discover Electronics Kit from Sparkle Labs. The kit, designed by husband and wife team Ariel Churi and Amy Parness, is so absolutely adorable to look at and use it will inspire even the most fearful of electro-phobes to take their first steps into making their own circuits.

After 8 long months of research and development Ariel and Amy released the kit to the Maker Faire crowd in 2008. People loved it and their hard work paid off. Moreover, what impressed this Switch Girl, is the kits’ presentation. The clever duo used their skills as designers to make a kit that is visually approachable with easy to follow instructions and non-intimidating graphics.

Each component is individually packaged with a detailed drawing of the electronic part, symbol and ratings so there is no guesswork. There is also a guide of the parts on the inside of the lid, just in case you forget. The kit comes with a well thought-out instruction manual of diagrams and graphics to help make some of your first electronic projects such as a light detector or a booby trap. You can find more projects on their website, the latest is an electronic coin toss.

One thing to note is that the kit shows you how to set up your circuits on a breadboard (the big cream-colored plastic thing with all the holes in it). Later, once you have your circuit working just the way you want, you should solder your components to a solder board and put it in your design. This can be one of the trickiest things for a first timer, so here are some resouces to help make this transistion.

This means if you want your project to look “pretty,” you’ll need your own design, toy, or casing for it to go in. This is a great place for you to be creative, so be fearless!

As we’ve seen, it is one thing to know electronics; it’s another all together to be able to break it down into digestible format for the masses to follow. We give an A+ to Sparkle Labs for helping build up the electronic DIY movement in such a delightful way.

The kit costs $49.00 and you can purchase it on Sparkle Labs online store.

 

Sparkle Labs is growing and have some fun paper electronic toys, a book, and another kit coming out very soon. So, keep your eyes pealed for news.

Comments

Most likely this was caused by bad wiring by the user- a short circuit. It is possible to do this and cause the regulator to get hot. This is one of the possibilities when working with electronics. It does not cause injury. The kit is not meant for children under 12 for this reason. Younger children are better using kiddie parts not real parts.

Monday, April 12, 2010 - 13:59


In most cases, overheating is caused by the following: lower quality component, bad design/documentation/instruction, and/or human error. I can't say for sure what the issue was for that Amazon reviewer. You are welcome to bring this up to Sparkle Labs. There are also a few more reviews here:

http://www.makershed.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MKSL1

Fang

Saturday, January 30, 2010 - 10:46


There's a negative review for this up at Amazon--it claims overheating/potential for burns and not enough parts for the projects. Any word on this?

Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 12:49