We are new to the Netflix series Project Mc2 but with the groundswell of interest in STEM-based projects for kids, particularly girls, we were delighted to be asked to review the Project Mc2 Pixel Purse.
STEM by the way stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. It’s all about building a love for learning and a solid base for understanding key concepts later on as your children work through the Key Stages in school.
The Project Mc2 series is set in the fictional city of Maywood Glen in California and is about STEAM activities (STEM plus Art!).
The heroine is McKeyla McAlister who, with her best friends, works for a government organisation called NOV8 (“innovate”). They are a secret group of teenage female government operatives trying to protect the world using science and technology skills.
Having made a note to pay more attention to Netflix, we turned our attention to the Pixel Purse which is one of a range of toys from Project Mc2.
The Project Mc2 Pixel Purse (we say handbag!) is about the same size as a clutch bag and it’s made of hard plastic in a bright pink colour with a display screen.
Be aware that it is not a toy handbag and you cannot actually keep things in it. The only space available is to slot in your mobile phone to download your pixel designs.
What makes the Pixel Purse special is that it features a multi-coloured LED display which can be personalised with custom designs and phrases by using the free iOS and Android apps.
Go to www.projectmc2.com/pixelpurse for a list of compatible devices.
The purse also comes ready-programmed with 10 animations so you can play with it straight away, although you will need to replace the demonstration batteries with 4 x AA ones. Make sure you have a screwdriver to hand.
The app is very easy to use and it took Caitlin no time at all to start creating designs for display on her pixel purse using the app on my iPhone.
Once you have created your design you save it and then connect the bag to your device (mobile or tablet) by inserting the cable inside the purse into your phone’s headphone jack.
We were a little thrown at first because I have an iPhone 7 plus which of course doesn’t have a headphone jack but luckily the Husband remembered that an adapter was included in the iPhone box.
Happily this worked and it was a simple process to clip the mobile into the specially designated slot, stick the cable in and wait for the app to tell you that your design has been downloaded.
Turn the bag around and marvel at the brightly lit and flashing design all of your own making.
We did find that the designs need to be quite big and splashy. Originally Caitlin did her name which didn’t register as well as her later attempts of hearts and snowflakes did.
The Pixel Purse light display is pretty impressive and it is light enough to carry. It’s just a shame you can’t put anything in it.
This, of course, is not the point because its aim is to teach kids about how a light display works and specifically the role of pixels.
As the box says “if you were to look at a phone, tablet or television screen with a magnifying glass, you would see it is made up of lots of tiny dots called pixels.” Each pixel in the purse’s display can change colour and inside the pixel purse is a microchip which can remember the images and the order in which to display them.
We thought the Pixel Purse was a well made, well thought out toy which teaches quite a complex subject in an easy to grasp and non-threatening way.
The Project Mc2 Pixel Purse is suitable for ages 6+ and is available from Amazon, Argos, Smyths, Tescos and ToysRus.
You can find out more at the website at www.projectmc2.com for new experiments, videos and updates.
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