written by: Amy Whiting
It was 2015 and Kristy Sevy was running out of answers to her daughter’s questions. She found herself filling up shelves with wasted science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) toys and constantly Googling to explain how things worked. “Kids are growing up in a world where problems are shoved in their face constantly, and because of that they are asking more questions. As an adult, I felt a responsibility to do something about it.” And so she did.
Sevy, a stay-at-home mom with no background in coding, started a tech company, Fuze, to produce Zubi Flyer, a hackable flying disk toy, for kids to assemble and program. Unlike many other options for kids interested in STEM and coding, it’s affordable and unintimidating to someone without a tech background. Zubi Flyer allows kids to see immediate results from what they code, giving them control over the otherwise-mysterious technology that has filled their lives.
The Zubi Flyer comes with the disk (aka “Frisbee”], circuit board, screwdriver and several other parts to interact with the toy. The builder has 13 pre-programmed games to play when throwing it. The disk can be connected to a computer and “hacked” to change how the games work using Fuze’s instruction guide and simple programming software. It’s perfect for anyone who isn’t afraid to make mistakes and take things apart. “After kids learn how to change the color, they can change the timing or the sound of the buzzer until they have a skillset of being able to change all the variables.” And, unlike your iPhone, it’s all open-source, so anything can be changed and connected to other programmable gadgets.
“Kids not understanding how technology can manipulate, enhance and create an entirely new reality has really scary implications,” Sevy says. “So that’s one thing we stand by in the company. We show kids how stuff works.”
If you’re interested in hacking into one yourself, you can order a Zubi Flyer for $129 at fuzeplay.io. The folks at Zubi are also planning a summer coder camp to help kids understand their new toy and Arduino, Zubi’s coding language.
See more inside our 2017 July/August Issue.