GoGo Board

Project Dates 2001- Present

A Low Cost More Sustainable Platform for Robotics and Scientific Sensing

The GoGo Board is a programmable device with sensor inputs and outputs that can control motors and other types of actuators. It is designed especially for young learners who are new to electronics.

The GoGo Board 5

The core design principle behind the GoGo Board is to allow learners to immediately immerse themselves in powerful ideas in computational thinking and STEM–that is, spend as much time as possible on the ideas of their desired creations and less on the technical details of the low-level electronics involved.

This design separates the GoGo Board from alternatives such as the Arduino. For example, when programming an LED, learners can plug in an LED module and start to create interesting patterns instead of having to first assemble an LED circuit on a breadboard. This principle of foregrounding powerful ideas also applies to the easy-to-learn, block-based visual programming language. Additionally, the web-based platform allows learners to instantly view sensor readings and control outputs without programming. The GoGo Board is also compatible with many electronic sensors and actuators that are widely available and can interface with Raspberry Pi for extended capabilities.

Resources

Find additional information and documentation visit gogoboard.org and docs.gogoboard.org

Access the online coding platform at code.gogoboard.org

Background

Paulo Blikstein and Arnan Sipitakiat began developing the GoGo Board in 2001 as graduate students at the MIT Media Lab. Inspired by the MIT Cricket and the IRX board and drawing from their backgrounds in developing nations (Brazil and Thailand), Blikstein and Sipitakiat sought to create a low-cost device that would enable children to create games and simulations that incorporate sensors and actuators.

Thus, at its inception a strong emphasis was made on allowing the GoGo Board to be locally produced. The original GoGo Board featured a single-sided printed circuit board and components that were easy to solder (“thru-hole” components.) Extensive research was done in the electronics street markets in São Paulo, Mexico City, and Bangkok, to ensure that each component was available. This DIY approach made the board low-cost and accessible in countries where imported goods were prohibitively expensive or simply unavailable.

Over the initial six years of development, the GoGo Board underwent several revisions building on the core DIY and low-cost principles. While the initial versions were tethered-only devices, GoGo Board 3 incorporated a Logo compiler that allowed for autonomous programming and operation independent of a computer. 2007 saw another major milestone for the project: Arnan and Roger were granted permission by MIT to open-source the GoGo Board platform.

In 2009, the GoGo Board 4 was released. Although not fully commercialized, this was the first GoGo Board version that saw relatively wide use–with two thousand boards produced during its six-year lifetime.

Version 5, released in 2015, was a complete redesign of the GoGo Board. With the advent of DIY electronics, the emphasis on “making your own board” and local, hands-on fabrication became less salient. Although no longer possible to assemble a GoGo Board 5 with simple soldering irons, this version then made full use of the latest miniaturized components available on the market and incorporated a number of key technical advances. These advances included a simplified installation process, improvements to the Logo language, the development of a block-based visual programming language (Tinker), and additional ports that make use of the Raspberry Pi to enable the use of WiFi, cameras, sound, GPS, etc.

There are currently thousands of boards in use in schools worldwide–including Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Portugal, China, and the United States.

Development is currently underway on the new GoGo 6.

Publications

 

Chailangka, M.*, Sipitakiat, A., & Blikstein, P. (2017). Designing a physical computing toolkit to utilize miniature computers: A case study of selective exposure. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Interaction Design and Children (pp. 659-665). https://doi.org/10.1145/3078072.3084339

Davis, R.*, Bumbacher, E.*, Bel, O., Sipitakiat, A., & Blikstein, P. (2015). Sketching intentions: Comparing different metaphors for programming robots. In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children – IDC ’15 (pp. 391-394). ACM.  https://doi.org/10.1145/2771839.2771924

Sipitakiat, A. & Blikstein, P. (2013). Interaction design and physical computing in the era of miniature embedded computers. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children  – IDC’13(pp. 515-518). New York, NY, USA: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2485760.2485854

Blikstein, P. & Sipitakiat, A. (2011). QWERTY and the art of designing microcontrollers for children. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference for Interaction Design and Children – IDC’11 (pp. 234-237). Ann Arbor, Michigan. [PDF] 

Sipitakiat, A. & Blikstein, P. (2010). Think globally, build locally: A technological platform for low-cost, open-source, locally-assembled programmable bricks for education. In Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction – TEI ’10 (pp. 231-232). Cambridge, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/1709886.1709931

Sipitakiat, A. & Blikstein, P. (2010). Programmable robotics and environmental sensing for low-income populations: Design principles, impact, and technology. In K. Gomez, L. Lyons, & J. Radinsky (Eds.), Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) –  Volume 2, Short Papers, Symposia, and Selected Abstracts (pp. 447-448). University of Illinois at Chicago: Chicago, IL: International Society of the Learning Sciences.

Blikstein, P. & Sipitakiat, A. (2010). Technological platform for low-cost educational robotics. First Open Hardware Summit, New York, NY. September, 2010.

Sipitakiat, A. & Blikstein, P. (2008). Designing for ubiquitous robot learning activities with the GoGo Board. Paper presented at the International Conference on Embedded Systems and Intelligent Technology (ICESIT 2008), Bangkok, Thailand.

Sipitakiat, A., Blikstein, P., & Cavallo, D. (2004). GoGo Board: Augmenting programmable bricks for economically challenged audiences. Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) (pp. 481 – 488). Los Angeles, USA. [PDF] [92 citations on Google Scholar]

Sipitakiat, A., Blikstein, P. & Cavallo, D. (2003). GoGo board: low-cost, programmable and reconfigurable robotics. In Sampaio, F., Motta C., Santoro, F. (Eds.), XIV Simpósio Brasileiro de Informática na Educação – Mini-Cursos. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Ed. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Sipitakiat, A., Blikstein, P. & Cavallo, D. (2002). The GoGo Board: Moving towards highly available computational tools in learning environments. In Proceedings of Interactive Computer Aided Learning International Workshop.  Carinthia Technology Institute, Villach, Austria.

Team Members

Active Members:

Paulo Blikstein
Arnan Sipitakiat
Marutpong Chailangka
Attapan Chan-In
Peeranut Pongpakatien
Mark Barnett
Akio Goya
Jonathan Pang

Alumni:
David Cavallo

 

Funding

Support is provided by the Lemann Foundation

 

Contact Information

For more information, please contact Jonathan Pang (research@tltlab.org).