Video credit: FuzePlay
A purple-haired, non-tech-savvy mother of three from Salt Lake City unveiled her invention, the Zubi Flyer Hackable Frisbee, at CES 2018. Kids can play the 12 games that come with the spaceship-like disk — or they can easily customize each game by programming the toy’s Arduino controller.
Frustration with existing STEM-oriented toys pushed Kristy Sevy to develop the Zubi Flyer. She knew that girls as young as 10 can respond to cultural pressure to leave STEM courses and projects behind. She also knew that the toys she had provided her daughters sat on the shelf, abandoned. A big part of Sevy’s frustration centered on her own inability to understand the toys so she was not able to help her kids play with them. “I didn’t find stuff out there that I wasn’t intimidated by,” she says.
Sevy decided her mission would be to invent a toy that brought the world of coding down to kid-level — and non-technical parent-level — and made coding fun. “Somebody such as myself, who has little to no knowledge in stuff like programming or electronics, can take this with her child and do it,” she points out.
The Zubi Flyer is the result of two years’ experimentation. An Arduino circuit board slots into the center of a Frisbee disc; the toy also comes with a screwdriver and some other parts that help the user interact with the toy. By hooking the circuit board to a computer, the user can easily custom-program games, buzzer sounds and other features with a very basic level of hacking. Zubi programming uses the Arduino open-source language, and complete neophytes can start with the ScratchX Extension until they are comfortable with coding.
The toy offers a couple of additional pluses. Zubi offers a safe environment where a programmer can make and recover from a mistake. And kids have an incentive to go outside and play, to see how well their programming works.
The Zubi Flyer is available from the FuzePlay website.