Electronics technology is the basis of most products we manufacture and use today. Yet very few people understand the basics of electronic circuitry. It is essential that electronics technology be taught early in our schools to ensure that the next generation can understand how to use, maintain, build, and engineer, the products of today, and the future.
The ClearCirKits Electronics Construction Set was designed to enable teaching electronics to students of all ages from elementary through college level as well as industrial training and home environments, without exposing them to dangerous electrical components and difficult to handle parts and equipment.
ClearCirKits is a electronic building block set consisting of clear acrylic cubes each with an integral lens on the top, and containing an electronic component such as a resistor, capacitor, transistor, diode, lamp, battery, generator, integrated circuit, or even a micro-controller. Each cube also contains a transparent label with the schematic symbol representation of the component as well as its value, and part number.
Three sets of snaps on each connected side of a cube provide a physical as well as an electrical connection to allow a power and ground bus to be established throughout the circuit as well as the signal connection. Simply snapping a power or ground cube to any connection supplies power or ground to that circuit node. The circuit diagram then looks like a normal schematic and the student does not have to route power and ground connections throughout the circuit.
Components that require more than four connections, or are larger than a single cube can hold, are assembled using a bridge allowing double, triple, quad, or any number of cube parts to be joined into larger macro-cubes.
To simplify manufacturing, the five basic plastic components of the cubes were designed to be produced with a straight pull mold, eliminating the need for costly side actions in the tooling. The electronic components inside each cube are assembled onto a flexible printed circuit that is attached with rivets to snap fasteners.
To ensure cost effective manufacturing, the entire set of components is constructed using the same basic parts; Top lens, Bottom, Blank side, Snap side, Connection bridge, and Screws. The only unique parts of a cube are the electronic component, and the printed Label.
A complete set of cubes may contain hundreds of components of various types and values which will allow the student to construct thousands of different circuits that are useful for learning electronics technology.
While constructing a circuit the student can clearly see each electronic component as well as the schematic representation of the circuit simply by examining the cubes, helping to reinforce the physical identification of the component to the schematic symbol recognition in the student's mind. Using the information provided on the accompanying ClearCirKits website they can learn and explore electronics technology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, history, etc.
Using ClearCirKits in the classroom will help prepare our next generation of young people to use and create the new products in the global marketplace.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name: Bill Forshey
Type of entry: individual
Software used for this entry:
Cadkey, Eagle PCB, Google Skechup, Bobcad
Patent status: none