Here are answers to a number of frequently asked questions about the HyperDuino. If you don't find the answer you're looking for though, just use the "Contact" tab above to send us your question.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the best documentation on the HyperDuino Kit itself?
The Tutorials tab above leads to the HyperDuino Tutorial, which is a Google doc that is frequently updated, and those changes are immediately reflected in the document whenever you open it.
Along with that, the various pages here that make up this HyperDuino website have a lot of excellent information.
Also, be sure to follow @hyperduino on Twitter. It's part of a great community of talented people sharing ideas, help, and projects.
What's the youngest age that can use the HyperDuino?
By 2nd grade (7 years old), kids are quite capable of using the HyperDuino app to set up the lights and sensors in a project. Adult help is required to demonstrate how to do it once or twice, but once shown, the kids are quite capable of continuing on their own.
What's the oldest age that it's still challenging?
The HyperDuino system is exemplary in its combination of a "low threshold" and "high ceiling". That is to say, one can start very simply, and learn the basic principles of adding lights and interactivity to a physical model.
From there, the "teachable moment" is, "And how cool would it be if we added a video to explain that part of the model?". Having done that, there are many more incremental steps for learning everything from block programming and coding, more about interactive electronics, all the way up controlling a home beer brewing system!
Is soldering or a "breadboard" required?
The HyperDuino boards are fully assembled and projects are constructed with easy-connect cables and components that connect to sockets on the cables. The system is quite versatile and extendable to a wide variety of projects and experiments. Breadboards (plastic boards with 100+ holes for inserting components) are not required, but at the same time, can be optionally used in a project if you wish.
How many HyperDuino kits do I need?
To answer this, it's good to think about how many students will be working on interactive maker projects at the same time, and how many total interactive maker projects will be created.
The HyperDuino Starter Kit has enough to make 2 or 3 projects with the LEDs and rainbow cables included in the kit. LEDs, cables and touchpoints can also be reused.
For an easy first step in setting up a library or other makerspace you may want to consider getting the HyperDuino Mini-Makerspace Starter Set, which will give you six HyperDuino units, plus enough LEDs, cables and sensors for 18 projects. With students working in pairs, that's sufficient for 36 students for one round of projects. For successive projects, the materials can be reused.
For a school makerspace, we recommend the HyperDuino Makerspace Set, with 30 HyperDuinos, and enough materials for 150 projects.
All of these are described in more detail in the How to Purchase page.
Does the HyperDuino need to always be attached to the project?
No. You can attach the LED and sensor ends of the rainbow cables to the project, and then just connect/disconnect the other end of the rainbow cables from the HyperDuino.
Does the HyperDuino need to always be connected to the computer?
No. The HyperDuino Media Linker app allows you to set up the LEDs and sensors and connections between the digital and physical project even when the HyperDuino isn't attached. The only difference is that the configuration window displays connections in gray, rather than the real-time feedback from when an active device is attached.
Can I re-use the rainbow cables, LEDs and sensors between projects?
Yes. Although the idea is to leave the rainbow cables, LEDs and sensors as part of the physical project while the project is being shown and used, you can re-use the cables, LEDs and sensors if you wish. If the LEDS and sensors are held in place with just tape, it's very easy to remove them later. Even if they are glued in place, they are inexpensive to replace, and the rainbow cables are made to easily connect and disconnect from both the LEDs/sensors and the HyperDuino itself.
Can students work on their digital project without the HyperDuino?
Yes. The HyperDuino Media Linker app allows students to configure LEDs and sensors, even when the HyperDuino hardware is not attached. That way they can continue to work on the playlist portions of their project when they're at home or otherwise away from the makerspace area.
Can students work on their physical project without the HyperDuino?
Yes. Because the rainbow cables are made to easily connect/disconnect from the HyperDuino itself, students can work on the physical project, installing the LEDs and sensors, etc., and then just plug the block connector end of the rainbow cable into the HyperDuino when they want to test and/or demonstrate the actual interactivity.
Can the HyperDuino shield be used without the HyperDuino app?
Yes. For the interaction between the digital project and the physical project, you'll want to use the HyperDuino for Chrome app for the digital project on the computer. However, if you decide to explore running programs called sketches on the Arduino itself, you can use the Arduino IDE (Interactive Development Environment) to write and upload your own custom programs to the Arduino. At that point, you won't need the HyperDuino app to control the LEDs or monitor the sensors, however you also won't have the many multimedia options of the HyperDuino app to associate with your project.
Can the HyperDuino be used without a computer?
Yes. The HyperDuino has an "auto-pilot" mode where no computer is needed to link LEDs to touch sensors, and with the optional Audio Narration Add-On kit, you can even play back audio tracks for each touch sensor, even without a computer.
Can the HyperDuino be used with a breadboard and other components?
Yes. Totally aside from the use as a bridge between digital content projects and physical interactive maker projects, the HyperDuino provides a great starting platform for doing any kind of Arduino experiment, because it has the resistors and voltage-divider circuits already in place. The HyperDuino also still has all of the standard Arduino I/O and Analog pins available in the standard headers along the edges, so it's super-easy to use jumper wires to connect to your own breadboard and components.
Is the HyperDuino app still useful for breadboard experiments?
Absolutely! Because the HyperDuino app replaces the need for written scripted programming, you'll find that you can more efficiently and enjoyably do many "advanced" Arduino experiments using the HyperDuino app as an alternative to the scripted code part of the experiments.
Can the HyperDuino be used in more advanced maker projects?
Yes. See the above questions about the HyperDuino and breadboard experiments.
Can I buy just rainbow cables, LEDs and sensors separately?
Yes. There's the "HyperDuino Re-Supply Set 30-pack" that comes with enough supplies for 30 interactive maker projects, with 90 easy-connect rainbow cables, and 390 each (1560 total!) red, green, yellow & blue LEDs, and 750 touchpoints!