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Two Bit Circus has launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for its Oomiyu, a Maker kit that combines art with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education to inspire creativity in young inventors.

The project is the latest creative tech from the Los Angeles company started by Brent Bushnell, the son of famous Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell. The kit focuses on art as a key entry point to STEM, especially for girls.

Two Bit Circus recently surveyed an audience of more than 500 parents to understand gender differences in how children play and learn in relation to STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities.

The report uncovers insights on children’s educational interests and preferences for extracurricular activities and also shows a lack of awareness for STEM/STEAM in general.

In fact, 47 percent of parents are unfamiliar with STEM/STEAM toys such as chemistry sets, microscopes, Arduinos, etc. And, surprisingly, both boys and girls share similar levels of interest in science and math in school.

But girls are far more likely to prefer arts and crafts inside and outside of school than boys. This points to why there has been such a strong push for STEAM in order to help close the gender gap in STEM.

Additional findings show parents of both male and female children equally report that their child’s favorite STEAM subject in school is either math (26 percent) or science (30 percent).

41 percent of parents with boys say their child shows the most interest in technology/computing activities outside of school compared to only 18 percent of parents with girls.

45 percent of parents with girls report their child shows the most interest in art outside of school compared to only 10 percent of parents with boys.

62 percent of parents say that their child never participates in STEM extracurricular activities outside of school.

To drive momentum for the STEAM movement and blend creativity, curiosity and critical thinking to inspire the next generation of inventors, Two Bit Circus is launching the Oomiyu paper craft and technology kit.

By allowing beginner inventors to build a fun, customized and interactive paper craft robotic owl, kids get hands-on experience with basic mechanical principles, electronics and programming that combined creates a unique STEAM experience.

“Not only does Oomiyu foster a sense of excitement for STEAM by building creative confidence and curiosity in children, it also helps develop critical thinking skills and makes technology more appealing for creative and analytical thinkers alike,” said Two Bit Circus CEO and cofounder, Brent Bushnell, in a statement. “By creating this holistic STEAM-based kit, we hope to bring out the makers we know are hidden in every child.”

Oomiyu is a customizable platform. It allows children to build, design, customize and program a paper creature to move, respond and emote to various stimuli. A companion mobile app and open source software extend the possibilities even further. Simple connectors make it easy to add new features and the included Arduino 101 packs powerful features like Bluetooth low-energy (enables easy connection to other devices and the internet) and machine learning (enables other pattern matching behaviors).

Also included in the maker kit are off-the-shelf components like LEDs, motors and paper patterns. The new Oomiyu maker kit offers a unique balance of design elements combined with more technical aspects of personalized programming for a craft that lives beautifully with technology.

This crowdfunding campaign is targeting $72,921. The cost of Oomiyu is $150.


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