The PicoCricket is a tiny computer that can make things spin, light up, and play music.

You can plug lights, motors, sensors, and other devices into a PicoCricket, then program them to react, interact, and communicate.

For example, you can make a cat and program it to purr when someone pets it. Or you can make a birthday cake and program it to play a song when someone blows out the candles.

The PicoCricket Kit is similar to the LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ robotics kits. MINDSTORMS is designed especially for making robots, while the PicoCricket Kit is designed for making artistic creations with lights, sound, music, and motion.

The Playful Invention Company (PICO) develops new technologies and activities that engage children in creative learning experiences, providing children with new opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves.

PICO products are based on research and ideas from the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, a leader in the design of innovative educational technologies and creative learning environments.

Lifelong Kindergarten researchers, in collaboration with the LEGO Company, created the first "programmable bricks," squeezing computational power into LEGO bricks. This research led to the LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ robotics kits, now used by millions of kids around the world to build and program their own robots.

The PicoCricket grows out of this same research tradition, but with greater emphasis on artistic expression. Cricket activities have been developed and refined as part of the Beyond Black Boxes project and the PIE Network, funded by the National Science Foundation. PICO reengineered and extended Cricket technologies and activities to create the PicoCricket Kit.

The PicoCricket is a new breed of invention kit that integrates art and technology to spark creative thinking in girls and boys 8 years and older.

Also based on research from the MIT Media Lab the PicoBoard, is a sensor board that works with MIT's Scratch programming language. With the PicoBoard, you can connect real-world sensors to your on-screen Scratch projects.

Playful Invention Company (PICO) Team

Mitchel Resnick: Mitch is LEGO Professor of Learning Research and head of the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab. He is also Co-Founder and Chairman of PICO. Mitch has been involved in the development of a variety of educational technology projects, including StarLogo, Crickets, Scratch, and the Computer Clubhouse.

Brian Silverman: Brian is Co-Founder and President at PICO. After graduating from MIT, he worked for many years as Director of Research at LCSI, the world's leading developer of Logo software. He serves as a part-time consulting scientist to the MIT Media Lab, where he has helped develop many new educational technologies, including the Cricket.

Paula Bonta: Paula is Co-Founder and Lead Designer at PICO. She holds a degree in computer science from her native Argentina and a graduate degree from the Education and Technology program at Harvard. She was Design Director for several award-winning software products for children, including MicroWorlds and the "My Make Believe" series of products from LCSI.

PICO Advisors

Robbie Berg: Robbie, a Physics Professor at Wellesley College, develops new computational tools and activities for science and engineering education. He co-founded the Robotic Design Studio where Wellesley students use programmable devices to design, build, and exhibit their robotic creations.

Natalie Rusk: Natalie, a Researcher at the MIT Media Lab, specializes in applications of digital technology in museums and after-school centers. She has developed and directed new learning technology projects at The Computer Museum, Science Museum of Minnesota, and The Exploratorium. She co-founded the Computer Clubhouse and the PIE Network.

Credits and Acknowledgments

PicoCricket industrial design by Smart Design

We would like to thank the LEGO Company for its continuing support of our efforts, particularly Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, Lisbeth Valther Pallesen, Jens Maibom, and Erik Hansen.

PICO staff members Chad Burt, Catherine Cournoyer, Jack Geddes, Mike Gillis, Danielle Hamel, Danny Lutz, Laurelle Miciak, and Matthew Thomson for their invaluable ideas and enthusiasm.

We would like to thank MIT researchers and students who contributed to PicoCricket R&D, particularly Andy Begel, Robbie Berg, Rahul Bhargava, Rick Borovoy, Fred Martin, Bakhtiar Mikhak, Mitchel Resnick, and Brian Silverman.

We would like to thank PIE staff who developed new PicoCricket activities, particularly Keith Braafladt, Stephanie Hunt, Chip Lindsey, Hideki Mori, Kristen Murray, Mike Petrich, Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, Natalie Rusk, Michael Smith-Welch, Karen Wilkinson, and Diane Willow.

We would like to thank all the people that made the PicoCricket a better product: Diana Gee-Silverman for the on-line help, Danny Lutz for the sounds, and Lawrence Shubert for guiding PICO through the intricate aspects of compliance testing and manufacturability.

Some photography by Mauricio Tejerina

New site design by Sophie Manfredi