Adafruit wants to inspire the engineers of tomorrow, and it's enlisting a group of puppets to help out. Early next year, the electronics kit retailer will debut an online series called Circuit Playground, which stars characters like Cappy the Capacitor, Hans the 555 Timer Chip, and a host of other tech-savvy, kid-friendly puppets. Each show will be hosted by Adafruit Industries founder Limor Fried, who says the series drew inspiration from the likes of Jim Henson and Fred Rogers.
Each episode will have "a story, a song and something to do," Fried told Wired. "We’ll have live feeds in our factory on how things are made. It’s a little Elmo for engineering, a little Mr. Rogers for resistors and a little Sesame Street for Circuits." The series will touch upon a wide range of topics, as well; one of the first episodes stars a character named ADABOT, who sings songs about the Mars Rover Curiosity and self-driving cars.
Nurturing a new generation of inventors
The company has also released a coloring book and plush dolls as companions to the show, as well as a Circuit Playground app for iPad and iPhone. The idea, according to Fried, is to make electronics and engineering more accessible to young children, in the hopes of sparking their interest early on: "Will there be a generation of engineers 10 years or so from now saying 'Hey, I became an engineer because of that crazy electronics show Circuit Playground?' I hope so."
The first episodes of Circuit Playground are scheduled to debut in March.