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Heard of Makerbox? I've recently discovered this interesting little initiative, the objective of which is to introduce young children to robotics and coding using simple electronics and basic household items.

At its recent display was a cat whose head would tilt, as well as a bat whose wings would move and eyes light up when it detected motion. The robotics/electronics were impressive, especially in the way they captured the children's interest. Also impressive was that the models were made using simple kitchen and household cast-offs, such as Gladwrap boxes and toilet rolls.

I spoke with Jess Weichler about the thinking behind Makerbox and what its developers want to achieve. The combination of simple coding with simple electrical components and common household items makes these robots incredibly accessible for young children.

Jess and Makerbox work with children as young as seven and begin with the simplest electric signals and movements, before moving on to more customisable coding and sophisticated mechanics.

I recall a meeting at Waikato University earlier in this parliamentary term where the advice on how to get more people interested in technology was "start them really young and make it fun". Makerbox is showing how to get it done. Impressive, indeed.

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