HoneyComb: Arduino without the pain - Alternatives to Arduino - 2geeks1city Google+

We met Robi Wang, co-founder of Elecfreaks, at the beginning of our “spiritual Journey around Asia”. We interviewed him about a new and very successful crowdfunding project they had recently launched: ELF, a drone that can send a video signal to a mobile device, making it possible to fly in VR with only your phone and cardboard. It was our first (and so far, the only one) interview in Chinese, and you can enjoy it with English subtitles in our YouTube Channel.

We loved our visit to the offices of EleFreaks in Shenzen. It was a cool place, full of electronics, cables, chips and all that geek stuff that we love and miss (we are trying to carry a minimalistic style of life in Bangkok… Let’s see if we can finish this interview without getting one Honeycomb kit).

So… What is Honeycomb? For those of you who have already tried Arduino and the likes, imagine removing all the friction and the complications, and leaving only the logic and creativity. Cool, right?

But… I think it is better if you take a look at this video and then read Robi Wang answers:

[2geeks1city] First of all: we are quite impressed by the possibilities of HoneyComb! As Europeans, it is inevitable for us to think about Arduino. We tried it some time ago for very basic projects, and we believe that it is amazing, but the electricity stuff was a little bit tiring (at least for us). At the moment we would have loved to have the possibilities of Arduino without all the wiring. And if we get it right, you are going to focus mainly on logic & creativity, hiding technical details. How do you do that? What is the knowledge an user should have to work with HoneyComb?

[Robi Wang, ElecFreks] That’s right! Honeycomb hides technical details and only focuses on logic & creativity. The technology presented to users is in the form of hexagonal blocks. Everyone knows how to use it as long as they know the names like Buzzer, Power, Music, Camera, Dimmer, Humiture etc. So you don’t have to worry about all the wiring and coding. You only need to focus on how to connect all the blocks, the creative part. So much of the threshold is pretty lifted. Kids above three years old can fumble with it and get the hang of it.

Honeycomb
[2g1c]

In your website, it seems like you target to kids & education, which is great. How do you think HoneyComb can revolutionise education?

[Robi Wang, ElecFreks] 
Yes, our targets are kids & education. STEAM education is going in the direction that we don’t need a screen for coding, and we don’t need coding for inventions.

HoneyComb: kids learning

HoneyComb: kids learning

Modelized electronic blocks are the future of STEAM education. Each block is functionally independent and interchangeable with other blocks. It’s like a system. You can forever include fun blocks into the system, and you can also add everyday objects to work with existing blocks. With so many combinations, the possibility for creativity is limitless. STEAM education favours the product, with which all things are possible.

[2g1c]
And what other user segments are you thinking about? Because we are too old to be considered kids, but we love the idea. And we also know some senior people (+65) who love this kind of stuff.

[Robi Wang, ElecFreks] 
We don’t limit our products to only kids. HoneyComb is an open product, and anyone with a curious mind should have one. Ideas are worth spreading and should be shared horizontally across technology lovers, and vertically across all ages.

As long as you have a curious mind and an open heart, yeah, sure, you will love it!

[2g1c]
The programming interface caught our attention. You have a visual HTML5 interface, with no required programming knowledge (great!). But how do you want to cover the needs of more advanced users? Can you edit the code directly?

[Robi Wang, ElecFreks] 
Learning coding (HTML5) aims to improve logical thinking rather than develop coding abilities. Right now we only want our users to focus on logical thinking so as to arouse the interest to technology. But the advanced users can export to Arduino or XML file or other IDE.

[2g1c]
You seem to have noticed (and hopefully solved) one of the biggest issues with this kind of products: if you are not an expert, it is very easy that you get stuck in the starter kit. You aim for remixing different kits, right? Can you give us some crazy examples of what a user can achieve with your different kits?

[Robi Wang, ElecFreks] 
You can find some fun ideas on our website.


Currently, we have three kits: Music, Camera, IoT and in the future, we’ll develop more kits. We don’t want people to get stuck in the starter kit, that’s why we created these fun three kits, to instantly get you engaged.

[2g1c]
How would you like to evolve HoneyComb kits? What is your idea of a perfect future for it?

[Robi Wang, ElecFreks] 
We’re developing a HoneyComb App to go with its kits where you can share your projects with others. Apart from including more kits and more blocks, we’re building a community. And of course, increase more cool technology to HoneyCombs kits family. We will try release 3~5 kits each year during the next 3 three years.

[2g1c]
When will it be available, how can we buy it and what are the prices/time of deliveries?

[Robi Wang, ElecFreks] 
It would be available by the end of March on our website. HoneyComb will launch on Amazon the middle of April. The price should be 80~99usd for different kits. However, for media and reviewers, we have some stock ready.

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