These little stackable magnetic Arduino boards work with LEGO making building a snap

Now there’s even more you can do with LEGOs, besides stacking them and plucking them out of the bottom of your feet. Microduino’s new generation of little stackable Arduino modules, mCookie, is both magnetic and Lego-compatible. If you thought you could do everything with Legos before, well, you were pretty much right, but now it’s a hell of a lot easier.

Ay visiting the strong online Lego and Arduino builder communities, you can find plenty tech online to ooh and ahh over. Microduino took the suggestions offered by those communities on their first campaign in 2013 and ended up with its mCookie modules, which are remarkably easy to use. Soon, Microduino’s mCookies are going to be available to everyone; the company is finishing up shipments to backers.

Since September 2013, when the first Microduino campaign grew to funding success on Kickstarter, the web community has grown by leaps and bounds. There are an increasing number of tutorials, instructions, and project suggestions available online, giving builders a greater support system. The Microduino wiki is growing page by page, and has about 75 tutorials posted so far to get users started.

There are a bunch of Arduino model kits out there, but they generally aren’t as simple or as flexible as mCookie. For example, Microduino’s quarter-sized mCookie modules connect magnetically, so you don’t have to solder connections. And their unique 27 pogo pin setup keeps damage to a minimum when you stack the modules.

And, of course the little circular connectors so familiar from childhood let you snap the modules onto Lego blocks. The holes on the mCookies also fit M2 screws so your designs will be tougher than if they were attached only with the Lego snap combined with magnetism.

The colors define the module categories, and do so with a clear inspiration from Lego. Red is for core modules, blue is for communication modules like Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Yellow is for functions like GPS and audio, and teal is for extensions like motors or amplifiers.

Arduino’s been around for 10 years, and its open source nature means there are a lot of projects already out there as examples. Easily available info and project plans make it a good fit both for pros building their own new designs and writing programs for them with Ardunio IDE, and for beginners working on basic downloaded plans using the Scratch graphic tool. The videos show how easy it is using a music player as an example.

Microduino Studio began shipping mCookies to Kickstarter backers in the beginning of September, and the firm just changed the order status from pre-sale to actual-sale on their website. mCookie Kits are set up like college classes offerings. 101 is the basic kit that comes with eight different module types: Core with USB, BLE 4.0, 8M, a hub, mic, buzzer, and two LEDcolor and Crash modules. 201, the advanced kit, comes with 16 modules, all of the basic kit plus an amplifier, audio, RTC, OLED, temperature and humidity, light sensor, passive infrared and infrared sensor modules. The 301 kit has every mCookie an expert could want, adding Wi-Fi, 10DOF, motor, servo, shake sensor, joystick, color detector, and duoV modules to everything that comes in 101 and 201.

The basic kit goes for $80, the advanced kit is $150, and the expert is $260. There’s also a family kit that comes with all three for $480.

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