We’re a group of makers and designers that met at HackRVA in Richmond. We focus on creating novel objects for 21st century learning.
We’ve invented a binary digital abacus, known as the FlipBit, to teach the binary number system. The FlipBit is an abacus with a single magnetic bead on each of eight rods, or “bits”, that react with sensors inside the abacus frame. A digital screen displays ASCII, hexadecimal, and decimal conversions corresponding to the position of the “bits”. There are also games about binary mathematics, such as addition, subtraction, and boolean operations.
Understanding binary is a core idea for technologists and engineers. The FlipBit offers a hands-on approach to learning for young people by mixing an ancient counting tool with the real time feedback of a digital screen. We’ve seen kids learn binary in less than 30 minutes playing with the FlipBit.
The FlipBit is built on the Arduino platform and will be an opensource hardware product making it possible for users to modify the FlipBit as well as create their own games.