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