Cultural phenomenon? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean it’s complex. Flappy Bird is endearing because of its simplicity. And in keeping the game simple, it remains easily adaptable. Take Flappy Bird in a Box for instance – a real-world rendering of the game that’s now available as a DIY kit on Kickstarter.
Created by Fawn Qiu, a Harvard alumni who co-developed teacher curriculum for the kids-can-code program Scratch, Flappy Box is just the latest in her “anyone can make anything” approach to STEM culture. Qiu is also the founder of MakeAnything – a technology kit community that promotes STEM learning through accessible, user-friendly project kits and workshops.
Qiu’s Flappy Bird project really took flight after an appearance on BuzzFeed in February. But while cool, it was also pricey to build. “The motors and Arduino board alone would cost $70!,” reads the project’s Kickstarter page. But with so much interest, Qiu knew there had to be a way to bring the cost down. Her team has sourced raw materials and streamlined the design to help bring the price to a consumer-friendly level. Also, ordering in bulk helps. “We want to raise money in order to put in a large order and to make the Flappy Box Kit more affordable.”
There’s a fair bit of good that will come out of this project if Qiu is successful. For every $5000 raised, her team will put on a free engineering and programming workshop in New York City aimed at underserved high school girls. They also plan to make the PCB board design open source and available on GitHub.
If you want to make your own Flappy Bird in a Box, be sure to hit the Kickstarter soon (there are only 9 days left at the time of this writing). You’ll be able to customize it to your heart’s content, and pledge levels range from the bare bones (just the electronics) to a fully customized kit with a character of your choosing.
To build what’s on par with the video above, you’ll want “The Full-Fledged Kit” at $59.