SAM IoT toolkit can make robots, cars and cool art

16 Jul 2015

The full SAM IoT toolkit. Image via SAM Labs

A company is aiming to make the internet of things (IoT) as easy as click and drag with the help of SAM, a system of inter-connected blocks that can help even the youngest create IoT networks and learn coding at the same time.

The IoT toolkit is very much aimed at children as it requires no previous knowledge of coding to tinker around with and develop interconnected networks, but it doesn’t ignore coding, rather it teaches users how their devices work.

Like Lego, the SAM kit consists of a series of Bluetooth-activated building blocks that are all controlled from a companion app.

Depending on the type of kit the user gets, it contains a series of blocks that house switches, buttons and lights, while the more advanced kits contain things like servo motors for creating basic robots.

Through the companion app, all the user has to do is click-and-drag links between the sensor building block and the actor building block to create something as simple as a button that activates a camera that takes a person’s photo when ringing a doorbell, to building a robot that responds to a person’s presence.

Most importantly as an education tool, however, is that when a connection is made on the onscreen app, the coding that created that link is displayed alongside it to show how it was done to teach someone unfamiliar with coding the tricks of the trade.

“[IoT] is becoming essential,” said its designer Paul Wolfson in an interview. “The boundaries have blurred between the world of physical and digital products, and the potential to connect one thing to another is huge.

“This doesn’t just mean physical objects talking to one another but talking to broader services and experiences, which might only exist digitally.”

Here are some of the pretty cool projects that people have created using the SAM kit.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic