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Custom DIY Tablet Based on Raspberry Pi for Teaching Kids How to Code

Education
Embedded software development
Kernel and driver development
Embedded hardware development
Firmware development

About

One of the leading technology and innovation schools in Brazil offers interactive computer programming courses where kids can learn how to build drones, games, and applications. To make the learning process fun and interactive the company uses a special device tailored specifically for educational needs. It's a DIY (Do It Yourself) tablet based on Raspberry Pi3. With this device, children can learn how to code, create digital music, develop games, and more.

Request

Integra Sources was hired to:

  • Build a custom Linux operating system for the DIY device
  • Developed entertainment and educational applications for children
  • Build an autonomous power supply system that ensures fast charging
  • Write firmware for the power bank

Solution

To create a custom OS for the touchscreen device we modified Debian – the operating system based on the Linux kernel. We redesigned the interface to make it simple and intuitive and built two applications for learning how to code. The apps are integrated with the Blockly framework. It uses linked-together visual blocks that make writing code easier.

Our hardware development team at Integra Sources provided a solution for a high-efficiency autonomous charger. We picked out hardware components and wrote firmware that provides a quick charge without harming the battery.

We also developed an interface converter from DSI to LVDS to support 1280*720 touch-screen display.

"Their high-quality work and reliable, proactive project management recommend them as a serious candidate for long-term partnership. They provide helpful collaboration, offering valuable suggestions for technical and UX improvements and researching feasibility for new ideas."

Founder of the innovation school

Developing and testing

Developing and testing

Technologies Used

The OS we developed used Debian as a basis.
Buildroot was used for the custom OS creation.
QT application was developed as the main launcher.
JavaScript application was used for generating sounds.
JavaScript application was used for taking control over the playing characters in Minecraft.
Adapted video driver to be able to work with HD resolution.
Developed hardware DSI - LVDS converter to support higher resolution of the display.
Powerbank was developed using TPS61088 and BQ24295RGER made by Texas Instruments.
STM32 was used for controlling the charging process.
Firmware for STM microcontroller was written using C++.

Result

The solution represents a DIY tablet that children can assemble by following instructions.  The operating system comes with applications which are grouped into fun “planets” (Art planet, Media planet, Game planet, Code planet, App planet, Web planet). One of the apps that our software development team created teaches kids how to code by creating modifications in their world of Minecraft. And the other one allows them to compose digital music.

Make some noise

Battery charging time

8000 mAh / 3 hours

Reached funding goal

On Kickstarter

Scope of work

Developed custom Linux-based OS

Developed two custom applications for DIY tablet

Integrated Google Blockly with Sonic PI and Minecraft

Developed hardware for the power bank

Wrote firmware for the power bank

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