This Kickstarter project makes you write your own instructions

Modular kit sinks or swims by your coding ability

Is that polystyrene? What shonk are you peddling now?

Hey, don’t be dissing polystyrene. It is literally a space-age material. And the ideal thing with which to make a hovercraft, which is one of the things you can make with the Airblock kit. Bit of a change, isn’t it, after all those drones? A nice hovercraft.

A kit, eh? Can I also make a drone with it?

Sigh. If you must. As suggested by a product called Airblock from a company called Makeblock, this a modular kit. In the box you get a central power-and-brains block, with six magnetically attached prop bocks and the hovercraft body. But this is more than just the usual rigmarole of build it, play with it, forget about it and feel a kind of materialistic guilt about it. You have to program it.

Ooh, programming. Space-age, indeed.

It is, quite. The iOS and Android apps use more blocks – this being the coding kind – to build instructions for your creations. If you like, this can involves fairly complex mucking around with the gyroscopes and ultrasonic sensor. At the end of which, if your thing flies you will feel a genuine sense of achievement. There are pre-programmed instruction sets, though, if that all sounds a little daunting.

Thank goodness. I'm not sure I could code drone flight from scratch.

I sometimes wonder if you should even be allowed to use a microwave. But, that’s where we come back to ground-hugging vehicles, such as hovercrafts, which are simpler to develop and easier to troubleshoot. But Airblock, which is currently super-funded on Kickstarter, also suggests you could build the parts into a Lego model, or even a static display game that might exemplify the wide-ranging need for coding, outside of just vehicles.

How much is this kitucational marvel?

Well, the current Early Bird deal is US$99, ahead of a US$149 RRP once it arrives in early 2017. Which is pretty reasonable when you think of the amount of development that must have gone into the app. We’re looking forward to giving this a spin. Or a swim.